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Easter 4 B ~ "A Place of Unity, A Place of Healing, A Place of Worship" ~ Rev. Benjamin Roberts, D. Min.

On the Sundays of Easter, Luke shares with us some of the great stories of our ancestors in the family of faith in Christ Jesus. We have heard about the united community and the need for conversion. We remember that division is easy, but unity is the vision of God, and that deeper conversion to Christ each day for each of us is the only path to unity. And why do we want to be united? Why is it important for us to be united as a family of faith in Christ Jesus? A united community proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ with power and authority. We will fail in our mission to evangelize if we do not continually seek union with Christ and each other. We want unity because we want to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Last Sunday we heard Peter preaching; this Sunday Peter is testifying before the Sanhedrin. Peter has been arrested for proclaiming Jesus and he is before the same court, before the same group of people who condemned Jesus to death only a few weeks before. Peter is brought before the court because he healed a crippled man outside the temple gate. And how did Peter do this? What did Peter do? He said to the crippled man, “Silver and gold I have not, but what I have I give; In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk.” By the power of his word and the name of Jesus Christ, Peter brought healing. By the power of his word and the name of Jesus Christ, Peter restored the crippled man to the community. He restored him to the worship of God with the community. Peter brought healing and now he must proclaim the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior before people who will oppose him and could imprison him.

And Peter is not afraid. He is filled with the Holy Spirit. He has proclaimed the name of Jesus and brought healing and restoration. By the name of Jesus and the power of the Spirit and the voice of an apostle, there is healing and conversion and unity and restoration. For the man who suffered for years outside the gate of the temple has been raised up, healed, brought into the community, and converted to faith in Christ. And this is the miracle that Peter proclaims and this is the testimony that Peter gives. There is healing in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is salvation in the name of Jesus.

And what Peter proclaims in the early days of our family of faith, that the community which bears the name of Jesus brings healing and restoration and conversion and worship and unity, we continue to live. We are a place of healing. We are a place where the wounded can be welcomed. We are a place where the name of Jesus is proclaimed and we are a people, a community, a family, that proclaims the name of Jesus.

But we can only be a community of healing in as much as we are a place of unity. We can only be a place of unity in as much as we are a people committed to conversion. We can only proclaim the name of Jesus with power and authority when conversion leads to unity and unity offers healing.

And so we come to the banquet where Jesus welcomes the wounded. We come to the banquet, admitting our need and showing our wounds and scars to Jesus. We come to the banquet of healing and unity and restoration and Christ will convert our hearts and unite his community in himself, and he will make of us a place of healing, a place of unity, and a people who proclaim his name to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

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