Nineteenth Day of Easter   20 comments

The Gathering of the Manna, circa 1460-1470

To Glorify God, and Fully to Enjoy Him Forever

Thursday, April 19, 2018 (Year B)

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First Reading for Year C:  Acts 8:9-25 (Revised English Bible):

A man named Simon had been in the city for some time and had captivated the Samaritans with his magical arts, making large claims for himself.  Everybody, high and low, listened intently to him.

This man,

they said,

is that power of God which they called ‘The Great Power.’

They listened because they had for so long been captivated by his magic.  But when they came to believe Philip, with his good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized.  Even Simon himself believed, and after his baptism was constantly in Philip’s company.  He was captivated when he saw the powerful signs and miracles that were taking place.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent off Peter and John, who went down there and prayed for the converts, asking that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  Until then the Spirit had not come upon any of them, they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, that and nothing more.  So Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

When Simon observed that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said,

Give me too the same power, so that anyone I lay my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.

Peter replied,

You thought God’s gift was for sale?  Your money can go with you to damnation!  You have neither part nor share in this, for you are corrupt in the eyes of God.  Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray the Lord to forgive you for harbouring such a thought.  I see that bitter gall and the chains of sin will be your fate.

Simon said to them,

Pray to the Lord for me, and ask that none of the things you have spoken of may befall me.

After giving their testimony and speaking the word of the Lord, they took the road back to Jerusalem, bringing the good news to many Samaritan villages on the way.

First Reading for Years A and B:  Acts 8:26-40 (Revised English Bible):

Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip,

Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza.

(This is the desert road.)  He set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian.  This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake, of queen, of Ethiopia, in charge of all her treasure; he had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage and was now returning home, sitting in his carriage and reading aloud from the prophet Isaiah.  The Spirit said to Philip,

Go and meet the carriage.

When Philip ran up he heard him reading from the prophet Isaiah and asked,

Do you understand what you are reading?

He said,

How can I without someone to guide me?

and invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.

The passage he was reading was this:

He was like a sheep led to the slaughter; like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer, he does not open his mouth.  He has been humiliated and has no redress.  Who will be able to speak of his posterity?  For he is cut off from the world of the living.

The eunuch said to Philip,

Please tell me, who is it that the prophet is speaking about here: himself or someone else?

Then Philip began and, starting from this passage, he told him the good news of Jesus.  As they were going along the road, they came to some water.

Look,

said the eunuch,

here is water: what is to prevent my being baptized?

and he ordered the carriage to stop.  Then they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.  When they came up from the water the Spirit snatched Philip away; the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.  Philip appeared at Azotus, and toured the country, preaching in all the towns till he reached Caesarea.

Psalm for Year C:  Psalm 65:1-5 (Revised English Bible):

It is fitting to praise you in Zion, God:

vows should be paid to you.

Hearer of prayer,

to you everyone should come.

Evil deeds are too heavy for me;

only you can wipe out our offences.

Happy are those whom you choose

and bring near to remain in your courts.

Grant us in abundance the bounty of your house,

of your holy temple.

Through dread deeds you answer us with victory,

God our deliverer,

in whom all put their trust

at the ends of the earth and on distant sees.

Psalm for Years A and B:  Psalm 66:16-20 (Revised English Bible):

Come, listen, all who fear God,

and I shall tell you what he has done for me;

I lifted up my voice in prayer,

his praise was on my tongue.

If I had cherished evil thoughts,

the Lord would not have listened;

but in truth God did listen

and paid heed to my plea.

Blessed is God

who has not withdrawn from me his love and care.

John 6:41-51 (Anchor Bible):

At this the Jews started to murmur in protest because he [Jesus] claimed:

I am the bread that came down from heaven.

And they kept saying,

Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph?  Don’t we know his father and mother?  How can he claim to have come down from heaven?

Jesus told them,

Stop your murmuring.  No one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me calls him.  And I shall raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the prophets: ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’  Everyone who has heard the Father has learned from Him comes to me.  Not everyone has seen the Father–only the one who is from God has seen the Father.  Let me firmly assure you, the believer possesses eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, that a man may eat it and never die.  I myself am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread that I shall give is my own flesh for the life of the world.

The Collect:

Grant, O Lord, that we may so live in the Paschal mystery that the joy of these fifty days may continually strengthen us, and assure us of our salvation; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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The Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus not to glorify himself, but to help people and to glorify God.  His works and words attest to this.  The cross and the empty tomb testify to this, also.  Philip the Evangelist, filled with God helped an honest seeker (a Gentile, by the way) find God.  And apostles confronted a magician who sought only to glorify himself and to avoid the negative consequences of his actions.

Vocation is located at the intersection of one’s greatest joys and others’ deepest needs.  Specifics of vocation vary individually and according to time and circumstances.  One might have Vocation A for a time then Vocation B later, for example.  And Vocation C might overlap with A and B.  Yet I believe that one constant thread runs through all variable factors.  As the Westminster Larger Catechism states in its first answer,

Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

How is God calling you to live beyond yourself, help others, glorify God, and enjoy him forever?

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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

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20 responses to “Nineteenth Day of Easter

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