Sixth Sunday of Easter Lessons and Meditations

FIRST READING:  Acts 17:22-31

Paul the missionary had essentially been chased 200 miles south to Athens by opposition to his preaching and teaching about Jesus. The city of Athens, with its bigger and better days probably behind it, was still a great gathering place of literature and art, philosophy and rhetoric, science, and architecture… still considered by many to be the world’s center of culture, intelligence, and wisdom. There were also so many faith traditions, with a variety of religious idols and holy shrines and faith-based temples scattered everywhere. Paul even saw an altar bearing the inscription “To an unknown God”… and it seemed like anything and everything was worshipped by somebody. Paul tried to talk about a single “Creator God” of all the world… he spoke about how objects of gold, silver, or stone aren’t much of a god at all… he quoted two of their own great poets… he spoke about God’s loving character and God’s judging character… he spoke about “the man God appointed and sent” to save people from God’s judgment, how it was time for people to repent… and he spoke about that man that God sent being raised from the dead as a validation, a proof, of God’s saving love. This Sunday’s text spares us from the sad report of the response to Paul’s missionary activity in Athens: some sneered at Paul’s message, some laughed and mocked him… only a few believed. Paul moved on to Corinth, but he didn’t stop preaching, he didn’t stop believing, he didn’t stop trying. Paul moved on, but he kept the faith, he stayed faithful to the Gospel throughout his ministry – three long missionary journeys and 10,000 miles traveled… all the challenges, dangers, and disappointments… preaching Jesus to the very end of his life, dying because he was a Christian who wouldn’t stop. It is not always easy being a Christian in this world we live in… and never has been. But don’t stop trying.

SECOND READING: 1 Peter 3:13-22  

The author may be Peter the disciple – the one who both declared that Jesus was the Messiah and later denied that he was a friend of Jesus… but, on the other side of Pentecost, courageously proclaimed Christ crucified and risen, shared the Gospel until he died because of it. These verses recognize the real possibility of suffering as a response to our faithful living and fervent loving… remind us that suffering is both an opportunity for witnessing and also a direct link to the suffering that Christ endured… and assure us that remembering God’s call and promises to us in baptism gives us the hope-filled future of Christ’s resurrection victory. When have you suffered for doing right? Do all the good that you can, by all the means that you can, in all the ways that you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.

GOSPEL READING:   John 14:15-21  

Today’s verses continue last week’s words by Jesus to his disciples on the last night of his life. He commands them/us to keep his commandments (his single “new commandment” that very evening was to love one another as he had loved them)… he assures his believers that we are not left to ourselves like “orphans” to do this alone (because we can’t!)… and he promises an “Advocate” (called “Paraclete” or “Counselor” in other Bible translations) that is the spirit of Jesus or the power of God present in and among the believers. Obedience is the key to a right relationship with God, and the most obedient we can ever be is to love the whole world as Jesus commands. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit provide us the will and the way to love. 

A BRIEF MEDITATION

If we are not loving, then we are not in a right relationship with God. We have a life’s journey to practice becoming more obedient, more authentic, and more effective in our loving and, in doing so, to discover the true meaning of our life, to really be alive. Our job is to bear the name, spirit, and mission of Jesus Christ throughout the world. You can start right where you are. Give witness to someone somewhere sometime. The Holy Spirit always pushes our growing edges.

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.