April 21, 2016
by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 282

Acts 13:13-25
Psalm 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27
John 13:16-20

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter Home

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

An Easter Blessing

Easter Joy in Everyday Life

I have often felt blessed to come from a family of storytellers. Family history was strongly emphasized during my formative years, especially by my mother. I am a member of a “tribe” of Carneys and Barretts; I was born into a story whose history long predates me. Even today I can recite some of the classic “stories” of my family’s history – my father’s Irish and Hungarian ancestors settling in Idaho; my grandfathers’ premature deaths; my mother’s memories of Civil Rights-era New Orleans and her Coke with Elvis Presley. Given the historical memories that shaped my youth, it is perhaps not surprising that I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. on the history of the church!

Today’s first reading reminds us that the narrative arc of our own Christian story goes way back. Our first reading gives us Paul’s opening speech in Acts. It is revealing that Paul’s first words do not concern Jesus himself, but rather the classic story of Israel’s salvation history – God’s liberation of Israel from Egyptian slavery; God’s gifts of the Promised Land, Judges, Samuel, Saul and David; and the final preparatory ministry of John the Baptist. Even Jesus the Savior enters the world as a part of a much larger story; Jesus’s story only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with Israel. John’s gospel today echoes this theme of fulfillment. Jesus’s betrayal is foretold in the Psalms, and his exalted identity as I AM unmistakably echoes YHWH’s famous revelation to Moses in Exodus 3:14.

In the modern world it is easy to see ourselves as “inventors” of our identities. The future is ours for the making; the past and tradition are dispensable. But as Christians we are “not our own creators.” As Paul himself famously said to a small group of Jews and Gentiles in Rome, we are “grafted” onto the story of Israel and God’s saving work in Jesus (Romans 11). This Easter season, let us recall with gratitude our insertion into the rich family history of this ancient Judeo-Christian tribe.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook