Second Sunday of Easter
INTRODUCTION TO THE DAY
The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.
FIRST READING: Acts 4: 32-35
While the Apostles testified to others about the resurrection of Jesus, the early Christian community shared what they owned or sold their possessions to help their fellow believers who were in need.
PSALM: Psalm 133
SECOND READING: 1st John 1: 1 – 2: 2
The opening of this letter serves as a reality check. The reality of God is light, but our confessed reality has been sin. God cleanses us from our sinful reality through Christ’s death so that we live in fellowship with Christ and walk in God’s light.
GOSPEL: John 20: 19-31
The story of Easter continues as the risen Lord appears to his disciples. His words to Thomas offer a blessing to all who entrust themselves in faith to the risen Lord.
GOD'S WORK – OUR HANDS
ELCA ADVOCACY ACTION ALERT
Pass a Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill that restores tribal jurisdiction
Congress created the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 with broad bi-partisan support. VAWA is an essential tool in combating gender-based crimes, including domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault, and other forms of violence against women. VAWA funds shelters and crisis centers, supports a national hotline for victims, and trains law enforcement to better investigate violence against women and offer support to survivors.
VAWA is reauthorized every five years, giving opportunity to update and improve tools and resources for protecting lives, but reauthorization is not automatic. While VAWA did pass the House in the 116th Congress, it was not considered in the Senate before the end of the session. VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013 and was an important step forward in addressing legal barriers to safety and justice for Indigenous women, giving tribal courts the authority to exercise jurisdiction over all domestic violence offenders on tribal lands, making possible prosecuting offenders who previously faced no consequences for their crimes. More must be done, especially to address our nation's crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. VAWA reauthorization will include the important authority for tribal authorities to prosecute non-Indigenous perpetrators of sexual violence, child abuse, stalking, trafficking or assaults against law enforcement. Additionally, Alaskan Native tribes were not included in the VAWA 2013 reauthorization.
* More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaskan Native women (84.3%) have experienced violence in their lifetime, which includes sexual violence, physical violence by an intimate partner, stalking, and psychological aggression by an intimate partner.
* 96% of Indigenous women who are victims of sexual violence experienced violence at the hands of a non-Indigenous perpetrator.
The U.S. House recently introduced and is expected to pass soon a bi-partisan VAWA reauthorization (H.R. 1620), and the Senate must, too. H.R. 1620 includes key provisions to protect Indigenous victims of sexual assault and keep Indigenous children safe from violence by expanding tribal jurisdiction over non-Indigenous perpetrators. The bill promotes tribal access to federal criminal databases, improves coordination and response rates across multiple jurisdictions, and includes protection for Alaskan Native tribes. H.R. 1620 also offers significant new protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized and assisted housing; supports victims and survivors who need assistance rebuilding financially; addresses the needs of underserved communities; and improves the healthcare response to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.
Significant ELCA social teaching supports these policy protections, including the social statement Faith, Sexism and Justice: A Call to Action, social message on “Gender-Based Violence,” and the 2016 churchwide assembly action “Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
Your voice is needed to support the strongest possible VAWA reauthorization. During the coronavirus pandemic, violence against women has risen in what the United Nations has dubbed “a shadow epidemic.” VAWA needs to be reauthorized.
Please keep these people in your prayers: Michael Koch, Wesley and JoAnne Porter, Jerri Morton Carlin and her husband who is fighting bile duct cancer, the Reuter Family, the Conrad family, and all those who are suffering from COVID-19. Please remember all of our shut ins and sick. (Also, pray for the families and caretakers of those on the prayer list.)
FUNDS FOR ZION
Please check the bulletin board behind the office door for all of the sign-up sheets for this year. Communion, birthday Sundays, and Worship Assistants/helpers. Thank you so much!
You can also remember special occasions or special people by contributing money that would normally be used for altar flowers. Instead the donation goes to our local food pantry.