Living the Lectionary – 5th Week of Easter

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

ABOUT THE WEEK STARTING APRIL 24TH: THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER

The Old and the New. Law: The Gospel is presented as a “new” thing, or something that we perceive as new, but new makes us insecure because our weakness makes us question if we can survive in a new world.  Gospel: God has promised that we will not only survive in a “new” world filled with the newness of the Gospel, but that we will thrive in it.Easter 5 C

REFLECTING ON THE READINGS

(readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com – you can read all the readings together here.)

Acts 11:1-18– The Newness of the Gentiles– The Apostle Peter is questioned by the ruling council of the Church in Jerusalem about the fact that he has baptized and has possibly been having communion with the Gentiles, which was a no-no for the time period because of institutional racial separation. What separations remain between you and other people? racism? ageism? some other separation? Why do these separations exist for you? || While skeptical at first, the Jerusalem council revels in the fact that God has sent the Holy Spirit to these people? Whose conversion would cause people to revel in your circles? Why? What might God be doing in their lives today?

Psalm 148– A New Name – Psalm 148 is a song of great joy and praise to God. Notably, it calls the gathered assembly to praise “the Name of the Lord”.  The name of the Lord, YHWH, the official revealed name of God  to the Hebrew people was not to be spoken out of reverence. The fact that the Psalmist calls people to praise His  Name, presumably by name, looks forward to when God comes and is called by a name, the Name of Jesus. Think about the concept of Jesus as being the “Name” of God who encapsulates the fullness of God as our names might encapsulate our fullness without actually being the fullness of who we are. How does Jesus “name” the Triune God? || The words “with angels and arcangels” shows up in traditional communion liturgies. These words bring our imaginations to think of all the world worshiping together with all of heaven. How to you picture that?

Revelation 21:1-7 – A New Heaven and New Earth – Here at the end of the Revelation to St. John, we see an image of the passing away of an old geophysical earth, and the emergence of a new geophysical earth, along with a new Jerusalem. What is broken about the earth? What do you notice? What do these things have to do with you? || The new earth is not defined by a description, but rather by the implications of the removal of negative things. What are the negative things that you would list in what you hope will not be present in the Resurrection? How will the removal of those things change the world for the better?

John 13:31-35– An “Old” Jesus and a “New” Church – After Judas leaves to betray Him, Jesus warns His disciples that things are going to be different. He tells them that He is leaving, but that He is leaving them with a new command, to love one another. This new command is to be the basis of the new discipleship and church. How is the church doing following this command? || Jesus is being glorified it seems, by being betrayed. How is God glorified in your life?

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