Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! We’re still in the Great Fifty Days of the Easter season that began on Easter Day and continues through the Day of Pentecost. This is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian Year! Our celebration continues this coming Sunday with four baptisms at the 10:00 am service.

St. Paul connected baptism to Easter in his letter to the Christians in Rome, “When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.” As we do at every service of Holy Baptism, we’ll renew our own baptismal covenant and be reminded that, through baptism, we are raised to new life with Christ.

Another metaphor for baptism is re-birth. The prayer the priest uses to bless the water at a baptism service says that through water “we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.” In Orthodox churches, the baptismal font is often referred to as “the Divine Womb,” since, in the font, we receive the second birth as child of God.

These female metaphors of womb and birth, borrowed from our Orthodox siblings, are a helpful counterbalance to the Western Church’s theology and symbolism which are often dominated by male metaphors.

The fact is the Good News of Easter came to women first. The Gospel accounts may differ in the details, but they agree that God chose a small group of women to share the greatest news of all time. And it was the women who told Jesus’ male disciples, “He is Risen!” Luke’s Gospel captures how the disciples responded, “they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Not a very good look!

In the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday we meet the apostle we know as Doubting Thomas, but Thomas was not the only one who had trouble believing. Jesus’ words to Thomas could well have been addressed to the others: ““Have you believed because you have seen me?”

Having spoken directly to the apostles, Jesus then turned his attention to us. He said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” May his blessing be on those who are being baptized this Sunday and on all of us who believe without seeing.


Stephen Applegate

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