Thirty-Fifth Day of Easter   11 comments

Timothy and His Grandmother, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1648)

Demands of Love Upon Oneself

May 21, 2022


Acts 16:1-10 (Revised English Bible):

He [Paul] went on to Derbe and then to Lystra, where he found a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish Christian mother and a gentile father, well spoken of by the Christians at Lystra and Iconium.  Paul wanted to take with him when he left, so he had him circumcised out of consideration for the Jews who lived in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Gentile.  As they made their way from town to town they handed on the decisions taken by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and enjoined their observance.  So, day by day, the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in numbers.

They travelled through the Phrygian and Galatian region, prevented by the Holy Spirit from delivering the message in the province of Asia.  When they approached the Mysian border they tried to enter Bithynia, but, as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they passed through Mysia and reached the coast at Troas.  During the night a vision came to Paul: a Macedonian stood there appealing to him,

Cross over to Macedonia and help us.

As soon as he had seen this vision, we set about getting a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to take the good news there.

Psalm 100 (Revised English Bible):

Let all the earth acclaim the LORD!

Worship the LORD in gladness;

enter his presence with joyful songs.

Acknowledge that the LORD is God;

he made us and we are his,

his own people, the flock which he shepherds.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and bless his name;

for the LORD is good and his love is everlasting,

his faithfulness endures to all generations.

John 15:18-21 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

If the world hates you, bear in mind that it has hated me before you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but the reason why the world hates you is that you do not belong to the world, for I chose you out of the world.  Remember what I told you:  ‘No servant is more important than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they have kept my word, they will keep yours, too.  But they will do all these things to you because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me….

The Collect:

Lord God Almighty, for no merit on our part you have brought us out of death, out of sorrow into joy: Put no end to your gifts, fulfill your marvelous acts in us, and grant us who have been justified by faith the strength to persevere in that faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


I grew up in a series of United Methodist parsonages.  This is no secret, for one can find this fact in more than one place on this blog alone.  Growing up, my sister, Barbara, and I  had to observe certain rules others did not keep.  My family and I lived in a proverbial glass house, so we had to observe some rules I consider silly.  For example, we were not supposed to play in yard on Sunday afternoon at the Vidette United Methodist Church parsonage (in Vidette, Georgia, 1980-1982), in case someone saw this and thought it improper.  The provincial mindsets of some of my father’s parishioners when I grew up and the demands these imposed on me help explain why I remain a lay member, not compelled to curtail my daily life due to such petty issues, in 2010.  Although there is a place for considering the sensibilities of others, there is also a time to dismiss certain standards, community or otherwise.

Timothy had a much greater issue, however.  If I were he, I would refuse adult circumcision for obvious reasons, saying, “The concerns of the Jews and Judaizers be damned!  This is my body!”  But Timothy was better man than I.

And Jesus faced lethal consequences for his love; this day’s discourse from the Johannine Gospel is from shortly before his apprehension by the authorities, and therefore close in time to his crucifixion.  So, consider the power of his words in that context.

True love and kindness is far more than warm, fuzzy feelings.  Rather, they are active, and they arouse hostility in many people.  True love and kindness can get a person killed, imprisoned, or otherwise persecuted.  They can make one despised.  They can inconvenience one greatly.  But, without putting ourselves out improperly, let us love and be kind.


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

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 21

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