Lord of Light, shine upon these words the very truth of your being, that we may read and be brought into deeper relationship with you. Amen.
Acts 16:16-34. After casting a demon out of a fortune-telling slave girl, Paul & Silas are imprisoned. They continue to worship even while in jail, and the prison bursts open, giving Paul an opportunity to lead the jailer and his family to faith in Christ.
Psalm 97. God is great and mighty over all, above all gods and idols, causing the earth to tremble, and rescuing and protecting those who are God’s people.
Revelation 22:12-22. John’s conclusion to the Revelation proclaims Christ as the one who invites all to find life in Christ, and who is coming to ‘set things to rights’ bringing rescue and the safety of the Holy City to those who respond to God’s invitation.
John 17:20-26. Jesus prays for his disciples and for all who will come to believe in him, that they may be one, and that through their love and their ‘belovedness’ the world may be brought to knowledge of Jesus.
The Reverend Tania Writes.
Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!
This is the last Sunday before Pentecost (which closes out the 50 days of Easter), and appropriately, the focus is on God’s invitation to all
people to enjoy the life and grace that is offered in Jesus. The scene is set, then, for the welcoming of all nations in the reversal of Babel which happened on the birthday of the Church.
At first glance, the readings this week seem completely unconnected. But a closer look reveals the simple theme of invitation.
In Acts, Paul and Silas are given a unique opportunity to invite a jailer into Christ’s life. In the Psalm, God’s glory and power are the context for an invitation to those who are ‘godly’ to find refuge in God. In Revelation the invitation to all who would ‘drink of the waters of life’ is proclaimed,along with the assurance of Christ’s return to love and welcome those who respond to the invitation. In John Jesus prays for unity and love among believers so that others may see this, know the truth about Jesus, and be drawn (invited) into the life of Christ, and of the loving, beloved community of faith.
It is appropriate that this theme should follow closely behind last week’s focus on hospitality, and on the celebration of the Ascension – which proclaimed both God’s divine reign, and God’s gracious immanence.
God seeks intimate relationship with humanity, and, as an integral part of this intimacy, we need to share God’s love with one another. Thus, even as we accept God’s invitation to beloved life, we are called to extend the invitation to others. The Gospel is, after all, at its heart an extravagant,divine invitation.
May you hear God’s gracious invitation again as you worship and prepare this week.
Blessings of new life this Easter Season, Rev. Tania.