Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Readings for May 15 2011

Peace and Love from Jesus Christ Our Savior,
To all my Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

This week we are back to the Gospel of John through June 12 and we continue our readings in Acts and 1 Peter.

Acts 2:42-47 – This short passage tell us a little bit about the life of the new church and its believers following Pentecost Sunday. Verse 41 says that, as a result of Peter’s preaching on Pentecost, 3000 were baptized and joined with the apostles and disciples. Verse 42, which I read this past Sunday, says that the people devoted themselves to 1) the teachings of the apostles; 2) fellowship; 3) breaking of bread (communion); and 4) prayer. Fellowship consisted of being together (daily?) and the communal ownership of everything which was distributed to any who had the need. They worshiped together in the Temple and celebrated the Lord’s supper at their homes. The people were joyous and generous and had the goodwill of the people of Jerusalem. And each day there were new believers. How do our churches and lives measure up to this standard?

Psalm 23 – This beloved psalm is read several times a year. As you read it ask yourself, “What is new for me this time?” Perhaps read a different version, like “The Message”, and hear it anew.

1 Peter 2:19-25 – The Revised Common Lectionary Committee chose to omit verse 18 from this reading. Read without 18, the passage is an encouragement to all who are suffering at the hands of the authorities because of their faith. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” However, if you read the first sentence of the paragraph, verse 18, then the entire tenor of the text changes. This entire reading is directed to slaves, encouraging them to endure any harsh treatment they receive from their owners. There is a reference to sheep that have gone astray and returned to the shepherd and the flock in verse 25 which connects it to the John reading.

John 10:1-10 – The fourth Sunday after Easter is occasionally call “Good Shepherd Sunday” and the readings for each lectionary cycle, (we are currently in year A) come from John 10. In this reading we don’t actually have Jesus saying “I am the Good Shepherd” (year B) but he does call himself the gate to the sheepfold. He also implies that he is the shepherd whose voice the sheep follow. All others are thieves and bandits. Please notices that 10:1-19 is a continuation of the dialog between Jesus and the Pharisees that started at the end of chapter 9 and the story of the man born blind since birth (see my notes for April 3). What is it about Jesus as Shepherd and us as sheep seems to be so endearing? Are we supposed to be mindless followers, as sheep seem to be? Or devoted to only one Shepherd as sheep seem to be?

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