Every year I am struck by several things in the course of the first Octave of Easter:
Giving attention to each of the accounts of our Lord's Resurrection appearances, from each of the four holy Evangelists, makes a rather remarkable impression. It is comparable to the impact of hearing the four accounts of our Lord's Passion in the course of Holy Week. Prior to marking each of these first eight days of Easter with the Divine Service, I cannot recall ever hearing all of the Resurrection accounts in any close succession or proximity, but it really makes for a strong overall effect. Among other things, it reminds me that Thomas was hardly unique in his doubts; all of the disciples were incredulous, repeatedly.
The twenty-first chapter of St. John's Gospel is an amazing literary work and absolutely profound. The way in which the fourth Evangelist is able to weave the entirety of the Gospel into the narrative of that concluding chapter is not only inspired, but really cool. I remember Dr. Wenthe often comparing the Holy Scriptures to a tapestry, woven from numerous threads, but nowhere have I gotten that impression as dramatically as I do from St. John 21.
The several sermons of St. Peter recorded in the Acts of the Apostles make for excellent readings at the Divine Service. Wow, talk about preaching Law and Gospel, and Christ crucified and risen, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins in His Name! Not only St. Peter's brilliant sermon on Pentecost Day, but I refer especially to his preaching in the subsequent chapters of Acts. It is a shame that more attention does not seem to be given to those sermons; leastwise not that I am aware of. But what we are given to hear in this first Octave of Easter is marvelous.
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