Forty-Second Day of Easter   10 comments

Above:  A Carthusian Monk at Prayer

Intimacy with God

Saturday, May 12, 2018

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Acts 18:23-28 (Revised English Bible):

After some time there [Antioch] he [Paul] set out again on a journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, bringing new strength to all the disciples.

There arrived at Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, powerful in his use of the scriptures.  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord and was full of spiritual fervour; and in his discourses he taught accurately the facts about Jesus, though the only baptism he knew was John’s.  He now began to to speak boldly in the synagogue, where Priscilla and Aquila heard him; they took him in hand and expounded the way to him in greater detail.  Finding that the wanted to go across to Achaia, the congregation gave him their support, and wrote t the disciples there to make him welcome.  From the time of his arrival, he was very helpful to those who had by God’s grace become believers, for he strenuously confuted the Jews, demonstrating publicly from the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Psalm 93 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD has become King,

clothed with majesty;

the LORD is robed, girded with might.

The earth is established immovably;

your throne is established from of old.

from all eternity you are God.

LORD, the great deep lifts up,

the deep lifts up its voice;

the deep lifts up its crashing waves.

Mightier than the sound of great waters,

mightier than the breakers of the sea,

mighty on high is the LORD.

Your decrees stand firm,

and holiness befits your house,

LORD, throughout the ages.

John 16:23b-28 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

Truly I assure you, if you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name.  Until now you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.  I have said this to you about the Father in plain words.  On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I shall have to petition the Father for you.  For the Father loves you Himself because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from God.  [I came forth from the Father] and I have come into the world.  Now I am leaving the world and I am going back to the Father.

The Collect:

O loving Father, grant that your Church, being gathered by your Holy Spirit, may be dedicated more fully to your service, and live united in love, according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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The reading from John speaks of intimacy with God via Jesus.  Implicit in this understanding is that one will make only proper petitions of God since one has pious priorities, so God will respond favorably to these requests.  The deepest and most meaningful aspect of this gospel lection, though, is spiritual intimacy with God, who although other and beyond metaphor, has drawn near to human beings.  We can relate to God and have a partial understanding of God because God has made this possible.  And we have the historical example of God incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Through Jesus we have direct access to God.  So no mediators are necessary, which is not to say that they do not exist.  We humans ask those whom we can see to pray for us.  Growing up United Methodist, I thought nothing of doing this yet objected to asking saints, members of the Church Triumphant, to pray for me.  Yet there is no difference between asking a person on Earth to pray for me and requesting a saint in Heaven to intercede on my behalf.  And I have done both.

Intimacy with God and an offshoot, understanding the essentials of faith, deepen with time.  This day’s reading from Acts introduces us to Apollos, an early Christian evangelist.  At this point in the story he had a partial understanding of baptism.  Yet Priscilla and Aquila informed him of what he did not yet know.  One lesson I draw from this is that we humans need to support each other in our journeys in faith, encouraging one another in kindness and love of God, not beating each other about the proverbial head and neck with doctrine.

KRT

Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/intimacy-with-god/

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May

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