Sunday, May 26, 2019 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Visions abound in the readings for the sixth Sunday of Easter. Paul has a vision about what to do. John has a vision of what will be. The risen Lord Jesus provides visions of peace that passes human understanding and power beyond human imagination.
Prayer of the Day
Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Acts 16:9-15
A vision compels Paul to move his ministry into Greece. There he meets Lydia, an important person in the business community, whose heart has been opened by God to receive the gospel. Her conversion and baptism provide the impetus for the founding of the church at Philippi.
9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
Psalm: Psalm 67
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. (Ps. 67:4)
1May God be merciful to us and bless us; may the light of God’s face shine upon us. 2Let your way be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. 3Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. 4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations on earth. 5Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. 6The earth has brought forth its increase; God, our own God, has blessed us. 7May God give us blessing, and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe.
Second Reading: Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5
John’s vision of a new Jerusalem coming out of heaven provides continuity with God’s past actions. Yet in this new city, God’s presence replaces the temple, and the glory of God and the Lamb supplant sun and moon.
10And in the spirit [one of the angels] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Gospel: John 14:23-29
As Jesus talks of returning to the Father, he promises to send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will teach Jesus’ followers and remind them of all that Jesus taught. Even more, those in whom God makes a home will experience a peace that overcomes fear.
23Jesus answered [Judas (not Iscariot),] “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”
Theme for the season of Easter
Risen to a New Vision: From Darkness to Light; From Death to Life
Easter is a season to walk with the risen Christ. We have come from Lenten despair into resurrection hope. The tomb is empty, Christ is risen. This is a season to live into the new life we are given in Christ.
Risen to a New Vision: Many readings this season are from the New Testament book of Revelation. In Revelation, we see a new vision of Christ as the victorious lamb of God. We see a new vision of renewed creation, where death is no more. We see a new vision of every nation together in worship. This season, God brings us a new vision.
From Darkness to Light: Jesus has moved from the darkness of the sealed tomb into the light of a new day. We are brought along this journey through the Holy Spirit given to us. Throughout the Easter season, Jesus talks about a coming spirit that will lead us out of the darkness into the light.
From Death to Life: God has been moving all creation, all humanity from death to life, culminating in the resurrection of Christ. We are the people of the cross, the people of the tomb, and the people of the resurrection. Christ is risen indeed.