Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 28, 2013 Fifth Sunday of Easter

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for April 28th: Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1-6; John 13:31-35; Theme: Preparation to be in ministry; song: In Christ there is no East nor West UMH 548 Acts: Okay, we have heard about the Easter miracles, now we hear about the new ministry that it is pointing to. Peter is being challenged to think in a new way. To go beyond his tradition and to reach out in a new way. Now that he has learned what power in Christ that he has, he is being challenged to reach out to the gentiles. Jesus knows that in order for Peter to have the strength to do something that he has never done that he will have to know that God is with him. He has to know that God will lead the way for him to do something different. Peter has met Aeneas and Dorcas, now he must meet Cornelius. It is easy for him to encounter death and sickness then it is to meet people who are not like us. So the Spirit comes to him in a dream and gives him permission to eat whatever is offered to him, so that he can meet new people with new customs. But when he does encounter the gentiles and learn to accept them as family – he changes the world forever. The church of all people and all races is born and it continues to grow even today. John: This is called Maundy Sunday, because Jesus gives us a special commandment. He tells us to love one another. That is the greatest witness of the presence of Jesus in the world that anyone could have – for others to see how much we love one another. When people see a church that loves each other, then they want to be a part of that love. We can use that love that we have received in order to love those who we find hard to love. Jesus was literally walked us through the entire gospel. He even came back after death in order to clear up some misunderstandings. But Jesus has said all along, blessed are those who believe but who cannot see. Those who can follow what they cannot see and what they do not understand, yet they trust wholeheartedly. We are being prepared when it us up to us to maintain the Spirit and to remember that we are the body of Christ. Christ needs us, he also needs us to trust in him, in places that we are not used to going. Questions: It Is just as easy for us to get stuck in tradition as it was for Peter; what people do we exclude because we are so stuck on our tradition? What people do we not even think exist in our world? What do we need to do to reach out to those people? What tradition do we need to give up on in order to let more people in? How do we show the world that we love one another?

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