Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Readings for April 21, 2013 with a Prayer for the Victims of Violence

Grace and Peace to you in Jesus Christ,
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I have been listening to extensive coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing on NPR. If you haven’t already, we should pause a moment to say a prayer for the families that lost loved ones, and for the injured and their families in their healing. Did you also know that yesterday a bomb exploded in Iraq and killed 55 and injured hundreds? We are shocked at bombings and mass shootings in our own country but we barely notice the violence that happens in other countries, especially the so called third world countries. So let us pray for all victims of violence:

Oh Lord, most loving God: we know that you grieve the loss of lives and the pain of those injured in Boston yesterday. We give you thanks that your Holy Spirit, your presence that brings healing and comfort, is intimately involved with all of those lives at this time. We pray for all victims, those in Boston and the thousands of victims around the world, that suffer the effects of violence each day. We pray that those who feel the need to perpetuate violence may respond to your Holy Spirit and have a change of heart and mind. We ask that your comforting Spirit to be with those that mourn and heal those that are injured. We thank you Lord for your Son Jesus who shows us that the way of eternal life is without inflicting violence on other but to absorb the violence of others and reflect back your love. We pray with Jesus on the cross when he said, “Forgive them (and us) Father because they do not know what they are doing.” We pray this in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our readings this week are:

Acts 9:36-43 – Not all the disciples were men although if you randomly open the New Testament it would seem that they were all men. Our story this week is about a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) who also happened to be female. She became ill and died. Peter was fetched from a nearby town. Peter goes to the room where the body is lain, ushers out all the mourners, prays for a while, and then tells her to get up. Have we raised anyone from the dead lately?

Psalm 23 – I think the lectionary committee puts this in the cycle 9 times, or about 3 times a year. There is a small connection with the Gospel Lesson. Maybe also with the Acts lesson, because if anyone has been through the valley of the shadow of death it was Tabitha. There is also an overt connection with our Revelation reading.

Revelation 7:9-17 – Another worship scene in heaven with all the usual characters: a great multitude from all the nations, angels, elders, and the four living creatures. However, in this scene there are some new worshipers who are robed in white. These are the martyrs who have died (come through the great ordeal). They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and the Lamb with be their Shepherd. What visions of the Lamb that was Slaughtered have we had?

John 10:22-30 – The Lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) has said, “I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). He is being challenged once again by the Jewish authorities while visiting the temple. “Are you or are you not the Messiah?” Jesus states that people who hear his voice and believe in him are his sheep and they can never be taken from him. Then in verse 30 Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.” Place yourself in the mind of the authorities. The man Jesus has just declared to be equal to God. What is your reaction? How do you feel about this? What do you want to do? (In the voice of a TV announcer) Now read verses 31-39 for the exciting conclusion of “Jesus in the Temple”.

Christ is Risen! Pass it On!

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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