Easter 5, Year C May 19, 2019

Title:Easter 5, Year C May 19, 2019

 Easter 5, May 19, 2019 (full size gallery)

The sun blessed our activities this week:

Two major events this week:

1. Village Harvest/183rd Birthday, May 15, 2019

Wed., May 15, 2019 on a gorgeous spring day. On St. Peter’s 183rd birthday – there was a full house for Bible Study at 10am showing off 3 cakes for the Village Harvest and then the Village Harvest later that day at 3pm. Eunice made a pineapple upside cake, Cherry angel food and Brad contributed a pound cake.

At the harvest, 146 were fed with 1,192 pounds of food – produce, groceries, meats and those birthday cakes! 146 was our best draw in a year

2. Shred-It – May 18, 2019

Thanks to Andrea Pogue’s work on Shred-it today May 18, 2019, we earned $390, the largest tally in 8 years. The funds go to St. Peter’s outreach ministries. It covers over a month of the Village Harvest.

Andrea originated it and has developed it over the period

Sunday, May 19 we had 38 under sunny skies. However the weather was noticeably warmer hitting the high 80’s today compared to unseasonably cooler weather in the last two weeks.

The Collins were here. Jennifer has completed one year of theological studies at Vanderbilt. She has one more year. We also recognized Sally from St. Paul’s King George and a friend from Colorado. Sally is now in Deacon’s school

We celebrated Bill Wick’s birthday today as well.

Catherine leaves today for 10 days in Ireland with her middle daughter. Helmut will preaching next Sunday. There will not be Adult education on Corinthians next Sunday nor a 9am service.

Today’s readings picture the love and encouragement to be found in Christian community. In Acts, Gentiles receive God’s word and the Holy Spirit just as the Jews do. John, in his Revelation, celebrates God’s final descent into our world to bring salvation and a restored world order. In the gospel, Jesus gives us a new command—love one another; by obeying Jesus, we show our discipleship.

Acts 11:1-18 

Peter is such a reassuring figure to those of us who know only too well how flawed we are. Sometimes he’s a bit slow on the uptake. Sometimes he puts his foot in it. But there are times when he so wonderfully and courageously gets things right. The  latter is on eof those times 

As the story unfolds, Peter reveals that it took him three attempts to ‘get’ what God was trying to tell him and he recounts how it was through promptings from heaven (v.5) through the Spirit (v.12) and an angel (v.13) that he eventually understood what God was saying. And Peter compared that moment to the one he and the other disciples had experienced on the day of Pentecost when, gathered in that upstairs room, they found all they had known being completely shaken up, stirred and turned upside down, by the Spirit of God who was and is and is to come. Here Peter’s courage, as he speaks to these early Christians, is mind-blowing. But it is not Peter who is the hero of what happens this day. God is. God is the one who takes away all the prejudices and barriers that try to divide people into those who ‘belong’ and those who are ‘outsiders’.

Peter defends his unprecedented decision to baptize the Gentile Cornelius to critics who reflected the early Christian opinion that Jesus was for the Jews alone, and that faith must be accompanied by a strict adherence to the Jewish law.

Peter explains the baptism as a God-inspired act. God led Peter to recognize that the believing Gentiles’ were included in the kingdom because God granted them the same gifts of the Spirit that the Jewish believers had received (2:1-11). To withhold baptism would have been to oppose God. With this bold act, the Church understood that God’s impartiality demands the unity of Jews and Gentiles in the life of Christ.

Psalm 148

Psalm 148 summons all creation to praise God. First from the heavens–by angels, sun, moon, stars and celestial waters—and then from the earth—by sea monsters, seas, weather, rocks, trees, animals and people–the praises of God resound.

This final section of the book of the Psalms (146-150) sees those Psalms linked to each other by three words: ‘Praise the Lord’. Psalm 148 calls for that praise to be given to God from the heavenly realm (vs.1-6) and then from the earthly (vs.7-8). Even inanimate objects are to join in God’s praise and within that whole, humanity is included. We are no different from the rest of God’s creation. We too are a part of it and our voice is to be found in tandem with all God has made. It is alongside the whole of God’s creation, that God is to be praised for God’s work in c

Revelation 21:1-6

Once the first creation has disappeared and the wicked have been driven off to punishment, all that remains is to wonder at God’s eternal magnificence, reflected in the new creation. Because of its association with brutal storms, raging waters and myths of primeval chaos, the sea no longer exists. Such violence is not compatible with the peace of the world to come.

God then provides a new Jerusalem—a holy city because God dwells in it–that suggests the intimate union of God with the chosen people. “The home of God among mortals” fulfills God’s promise to “be with us” (Exodus 3:12) and Jesus’ assurance that “I will be with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

It is a city that descends from God: a city where a myriad of God’s people dwell as God’s people. Think… relationships. Of Community. It is also worth bearing in mind that while the talk has tended to be of being taken up into heaven at the final call, here we find God coming to the people yet again – and it’s in the coming that salvation lies. It’s not the city that saves: it’s God and the tears God wipes from every eye are all the tears that have ever been shed. We carry tiny glimpses of that new Jerusalem within us when we live out the costly, selfless kind of love we hear Jesus calling us to, in the next portion of Scripture; in John 13

John 13:31-35

For John, “glory” means a visible revelation of God’s presence and holiness. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection manifests God’s glory in the fullest sense. The cross is not a humiliation but a glorification and the revelation of God’s plan for salvation. 

The love commandment is new, not as a commandment, but in that Jesus’ love becomes the model for all love and the basic obligation of the new covenant. God’s unconditional love has been revealed in a new way in Jesus. Jesus is more than the standard for Christian love; he is its source. His love is both affective and effective, bonding the Christian community and bringing salvation.

Love is not a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s what you do. Right after Judas has left the room to betray his Lord, Jesus turns to those around Him, to tell them what love is – and love He tells them, is about doing mundane tasks for another and it is also about taking the risk to do something utterly unselfish and heroic for the other. When Jesus could have been forgiven for being a just a little preoccupied with what was about to happen, He chooses to tell the disciples of His love for them. It is a love Jesus will show them when it pins Him to a cross and then refuses to let death have the last word.

“I am with you only a little longer.” Jesus breaks this hard news to his friends at the Last Supper. When we love someone deeply, words such as this come with heartbreaking poignancy. “No!” we want to shout in reply. “Don’t go!” It was clearly too soon for him to leave.

But such an argument mistakes the end of a scene for the conclusion of the play. Jesus opens a new scene as he continues, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Just as we cherish a picture of someone dear who has died, so we reverence this teaching. If Jesus’ presence is to lighten this crazy, chaotic, death-filled world, it’s up to us.