Acts 8:26-40 and John 20:19-31
Suggested Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary outlined in Brian McLaren's book We Make the Road by Walking (reference and library).
This is very much an insider sermon in that I talk about the formation of the church. I speak very specifically about the inspiration of Christian community. I say this because when I speak about the gifts of forgiveness and the peace entrusted to the first Christians and us by extension, I don't want it heard that these gifts are exclusively Christian. Maybe it goes without saying, but too many have made that claim. It's not an issue I take up in the body of the sermon. However, it's worth stating here.
On my choice of words -- my use of the word "toppled" is a nod to Father Greg Boyle. Oh my goodness, go out and listen to an interview or read his book. Just so beautiful. He has an awful lot of credibility when it comes to bearing up under what would otherwise be despairing. Here's the link to his book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (reference and public library).