There are many phrases from today’s gospel lesson that might echo in our hearts and souls after hearing them. I want to invite us to consider two of them. One, a question, “Who is my neighbor?” and the other, an imperative invitation, “Go and do likewise.”

The first of these phrases, the question “Who is my neighbor?” is asked by a lawyer within the context of having a conversation with Jesus. After asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, the lawyer, prompted by Jesus, gives his own answer by quoting first Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:8,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

Jesus tells the lawyer that he has answered correctly and then, perhaps bolstered by Jesus affirming his own right answers, the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Upon hearing that question, Jesus launches into the parable of the Good Samaritan to try and explain heaven’s wonders in earthly terms.

The risen Christ needs our hands and hearts, for we are living in crazy and sad times.

Jesus stands on the Lakeshore in today’s gospel and tells Peter to “feed my sheep” in a three-fold pattern that echoes Peter’s denial of Jesus before the rooster crowed on that fateful morning when Jesus was taken captive, when Jesus was taken to be crucified.

Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

I was catching up with my old friend Mary Ellen not long ago. She’s one of those friends, you know the kind - who know you so well and who you know so well that no matter how much time passes it’s like you’re picking up right where you left off.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
Christ is risen indeed, alleluia!

This magnificent story of Jesus’ resurrection, that starts with the line “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,” (John 20:1) reminds me of one of my favorite Easter traditions from when I was growing up.

It’s time to let it all go.
It’s time to let everything go.

It’s time to let go of our worries and our fears and our guilt. It’s time to let go of selfishness and greed. It’s time to let go of anger and impatience, but it’s also time to let go of our need to be right and judging others who think differently than us. It’s time to let go of trying to get things perfect and it’s time to let go of blaming ourselves, and others, for not being perfect. It’s time to let go of our families and friends, our church community and all the communities of which we are a part.