Seventh Sunday of Easter Lessons and Meditation

FIRST READING:  Acts 1:6-14    [A PROMISE of power to wait for!]

A few verses before, in Acts 1:3, the author of Luke and Acts tells us that Jesus appeared to his followers several times after his crucifixion and resurrection over a period of 40 days. In those appearances, he convinced them more and more of the reality of his mysterious victory over death, spoke of the Kingdom of God, instructed them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and charged them with the mission to be witnesses of his sacrificial love in an ever-widening circle stretching all over the earth. Then he ascended up into the clouds, leaving them again. But he didn’t leave to abandon them… he left to empower them. Two men in white robes (angels?) had to push and prod them, encourage and assure them. Thank God they stayed together, they waited together, they prayed together, and they expected something to happen! They might have given up in the midst of their confusion and uncertainty about what was going on… they might have scattered due to fear of their own potential persecution and death for following Jesus. His Ascension and the Pentecost surprise ten days later released the power of God to dwell in us and to work through us despite the realities we face in life.  Where shall we find the risen and ascended Lord today? In his word and in his bread, in his people and his washing with water and the Spirit, and in all who cry out for mercy.

SECOND READING: 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11    [A PLEA to be steadfast in doing faith!]      

The author (who may be Peter the disciple) once again is writing about suffering and persecution because of one’s faith in Christ. Biblical scholars speculate that this letter comes after Emperor Nero declared Christianity a prohibited religion in the Roman Empire, leading to much oppression, suffering, and even executions. So how should we respond to our suffering because of our link to Christ? Above all, we should seek to glorify God. We do this by humbling ourselves, by understanding how it connects us more intimately to the suffering that Christ endured and to the sufferings that other Christians encounter, by doing our best to stay alert and resistant to the devil’s attempts to undermine our faith and trust in God, and by trusting God’s love and promises through it all. When you are going through it and expecting worse to come, don’t face it all alone – cast your worries upon the Lord. We are encouraged by 5:10“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace… will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” What area of life would you like God to restore you, make you strong, firm, and steadfast?

GOSPEL READING:   John 17:1-11    [A PRAYER that all believers are united in loving!]   

Like Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as reported in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this prayer is Jesus’ own meditation on his dying. For Jesus, his death was the moment of his glorification, the climax of the mission that he had obediently dedicated himself to from the beginning. Prayers are one of the best gifts anyone can give. How uplifting it is to hear that someone has prayed for us! On the last night of his life Jesus, soon to be arrested and therefore already on the way to the cross, took the time to pray for all of us who would bear his name and mission. Jesus did not pray for the health, wealth, success, or even happiness of his disciples in that era or our own. He prayed that they and we would get along with each other so that they and we might continue the Father’s work on earth. Jesus is still praying after all these years “that they may be one”. Let this congregation and every faith community, every denomination and the whole Church on earth get it together and bring glory to Christ, glory to God, by keeping on in love and staying in mission! How might we be healers and bridge-builders to help that unity that Jesus envisions become a reality here, there, and everywhere?

A BRIEF MEDITATION

Because we are collectively the living, breathing, and acting Body of Christ in the world today, we have important work to do. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the hope that is grounded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, take your share of suffering as a witness to God’s love. Cast all your anxiety on God and go forth and represent… give witness to someone somewhere sometime. Lord, give us the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge we need in our waiting. Lord, give us the courage, boldness, and love we need in our doing. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have a message to hear and a story to tell! Amen.

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.