Saturday, April 27, 2013

May 5, 2013 Sixth Sunday of Easter

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for May 5th: Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5; John 14:23-29 theme: Love After Easter; song: For the Healing of the Nations UMH 428 Acts: The apostles seemed to take real stock in what happens in their dreams. Last week Peter had a dream, the book of revelation is John’s dream, and Paul also has a dream. The dream tells him to go to Macedonia, because there are people there who need him. On his way to Macedonia, he stops by the town of Phillippi. There is no synagogue there, but he meets with a group of women who gather weekly by the river for prayer. Lydia is the leader of the group. She is a successful entrepreneur. She sells purple cloth and makes a lot of money. But her biggest passion is serving God. She and her friends and family are baptized. This is the beginning of Paul’s mission in Europe. He will follow the ignation way to Macedonia, preaching, teaching and baptizing all of the way. There will also be many who reject him. But we hear Paul’s story in the book of acts, because all along, Paul is led by the Holy Spirit. The spirit tells him where to go and where to avoid. But it is the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the world that makes the church grow. The apostles follows and God leads them to places where something is happening. John: This is a section from the farewell discourse of Jesus. He will continue to speak through the 16th chapter. It must be very difficult being with someone when you know that they are about to leave you. Every time that person reminds you that it won’t be much longer – you tell them to be quiet. Jesus is only 30, but he wants his disciples to understand that the time is coming very soon. He wants the disciples to understand that the work must continue. They must continue to show love for one another in order to be able to love other people. They must be an example and a guide for what the kingdom of heaven is like. Love is a commandment. Jesus says that when he is gone they will believe. In other words it will all make sense to them. They will be able to put the puzzling pieces together. But Jesus reminds us that when he is gone from the body, that we will not have to fend for ourselves, because that is when the spirit will show up. The Holy Spirit will take care of us in ways we never imagined. We will mourn our loss, but we have something to look forward to. Questions: How do you recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit? Have you ever been led by the Spirit to a new place of faith? Who are the people who are in need of your faith now? Do you feel that Jesus has left you sometimes? Are you able to be faithful anyway? Are you intentional about loving those around you?

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