Why Are We Here?

7 Apr, 2024

By the Rev’d Lucy Nguyen

Season: The Second Sunday of Eastertide

Readings: Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

This week at our Clergy Team Meeting, I joked that after a week full of services we could possibly take a break until Pentecost for surely enough theology and spirit was embedded in us all throughout Holy Week into Easter Day to hold us for 50 more days.

Obviously that idea was vetoed because here we are! Back again – Alleluia!

However, be careful what you ask for –

Why are we back?

I’ve been told by some that it’s not the coffee which I think does a real disservice to our Sunday morning tea baristas! Perhaps it’s for the wine – could be – though hopefully for the spiritual import of it and not the alcohol content.

Why are we here?

Many of us gather faithfully week by week, others of us attend faithfully within the time allowed given overlapping commitments many now hold on any given day, weekends and particularly Sundays no longer withstanding. And others of us – well Christmas and Easter seem to be a draw card – and wasn’t it lovely last Sunday to have a crowd.

Why is that do you think?

Gathering for Christians is important – and not so we can be a holy huddle behind locked doors – but rather so that we can experience, embody, and share life in all its fullness with and for others.

A common thread in our three readings this morning, the 2nd Sunday of Eastertide is life in community.

From the Acts Reading: “Now the whole group of those who believed

Luke presents an idealised picture of the post resurrection Jerusalem community.

All things held in common, and the gospel received with great respect.

Our second reading, the First Epistle of John: “…we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us…”

We tell our faith stories to build not destroy community.

The Gospel of John: “Jesus came and stood among them. … “As the father has sent me, so I send you.”

The Easter season is about life – life here and now.

And life is only fully realised in conjunction with others, in our connectedness, in community. (1)  Life in community was what Jesus was very much about.

The Greek word “koinonia” is often translated into fellowship. The essential meaning of the koinonia embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms: community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. 2

I’d like you to take a moment now to think of all the “communities” or fellowships of which you are a part. And then if you are comfortable to move about, to sit with one or two others you don’t normally get a chance to chat with to share together the groups of which you are a part, and you may want to notice if any of the groups are subgroups of All Saints or community groups in which All Saints is a member of the group. And how does your involvement in these groups bring life to others. How do they contribute to healthy and just communities. And for whom.

Let us live in such a way that when we die our love will survive and continue to grow. AMEN 3    This is a prayer by the Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig

In this Easter season as we celebrate, we are also challenged to live its implications in this second decade of the twenty-first century.

One writer suggests that perhaps one of our greatest challenges is the invitation to reflect on the meaning of life, death and resurrection in the context of the ongoing destruction of creation.(3)  And if you’re like me, feeling a bit overwhelmed by the numerous world’s dramas and traumas, it might help to list out –all that seems to weigh you/us down …

How are we being called, as Christians today, to give our lives at this time, so that both we and future generations might experience Resurrection, rather than the slow destruction of communities and our planet?

How do our community groups, our fellowships contribute?

I came across a church’s statement of faith which read:

Faith is experienced rather than learned. Being part of Church enables us:

to celebrate what is good in life,

to explore Jesus’ way of love,

to share the biblical witness to the Spirit’s working. (1)

And I would add to that, to be, by and through Jesus’s love, the good we want to see…

Some research reveals that participants in the early church did not, in fact, focus on “’saving’ people or recruiting them” in an evangelical sense. Rather, the growth of the early church was primarily because the Christians and their churches lived in a manner that attracted others… living faithfully—in the belief that when people’s lives are refocused to the way of Jesus, others will want to join them. (4)

As one writer puts it: “The wellbeing of covenantal communities of God’s people in-Christ is the objective of God’s mission, because these communities represent the shalom-kingdom of God made manifest in a perishing world. I speak of wellbeing in a wholistic sense where participants live out the full potential of their imago Dei in loving community; in reconciled, reciprocal, relational harmony with the triune God, with one’s self, with one another in-Christ, with our environments, and with our histories.” (4)

During this Eastertide you will (perhaps) notice that the First Testament is not read at the Eucharist. “During the Easter season, the Hebrew Scriptures are replaced by the Acts of the Apostles. The logic draws upon the practice of looking forward from the resurrection to balance the Easter Vigil’s looking back on our salvation history and to centre us on the celebration of the resurrection and to keep us looking forward from that event into today’s time”. (5)

So why are we back together again?

We are back here to look forward. To look forward in our prayers, in our intentions and aspirations, our conversations and being, to bring ourselves and this community of All Saints out into the world, living in ways that bring life to others.

Be encouraged to continue to grapple with personal as well as public issues, they are intertwined. Bring yourself, in your own time, into the fullness of God’s love and healing.

As Jim Rigby put it, “Jesus’ death on the cross exposed the lie that that violence could ever be good, justified or holy. Good Friday is good because it is the day Jesus showed us that there is another way of absorbing and transforming violence without perpetuating it.” (6)

The alleluias of resurrection, of Easter, are the testimony to this truth which we and all the world can experience when we live and work together in communion, one with another.

This is why we gather. 

Peace be with you.

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Readings and resources included:

(1) Rev. Adrian Skelton;




(5) St. Augustine of Hippo in the 4th Century started this based on earlier practices by Cyril of Jerusalem, a theologian of the Early Church.

 (6) Jim Rigby St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Austin, Texas FB post:

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