Thirty-First Day of Easter   11 comments

Christ Pantocrator

Let Us Be On Our Way

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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Acts 14:19-28 (Revised English Bible):

Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came on the scene and won over the crowds.  They stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, thinking him dead.  The disciples formed a ring around him, and he got to his feet and went into the city.  Next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After bringing the good news to that town and gaining many converts, they returned to Lystra, then to Iconium, and then to Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to be true to the faith.  They warned them that to enter the kingdom of God we must undergo many hardships.  They also appointed for them elders in each congregation, and with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their trust.

They passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia.  When they had delivered the message at Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there sailed to Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the task which they had now completed.  On arrival there, they called the congregation together and reported all that God had accomplished through them, and how he had thrown open the gates of faith to the Gentiles.  And they stayed for some time with the disciples there.

Psalm 145:8-13 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD is gracious and compassionate,

long-suffering and ever faithful.

The LORD is good to all;

his compassion rests upon all his creatures.

All your creatures praise you, LORD,

and your loyal servants bless you.

They talk of the glory of your kingdom

and tell of your might,

to make known to mankind your mighty deeds,

the glorious majesty of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

as your dominion endures throughout all generations.

John 14:27-31 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

‘Peace’ is my farewell to you.  My ‘peace’ is my gift to you, and I do not give it to you as the world gives it.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be fearful.  You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away,’ and ‘I am coming back to you.’  If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  But now, I have told you even before it happens so that, when it does happen, you may believe.  I shall no longer speak [much] with you, for the Prince of the world is coming.  Actually, he has no hold on me; but the world must recognize that I love the Father and that I do exactly as the Father has commanded me.  Get up!  Let us leave her and be on our way.

The Collect:

O God, you continually increase your Church by the birth of new sons and daughters in Baptism:  Grant that they may be obedient all the days of their life to the rule of faith which they received in that Sacrament; through Jesus Christ our Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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As you read this devotion know that I wrote in on the evening of Good Friday 2010.  The material is appropriate to that date.  Paul’s evangelistic work put his life at risk, and Jesus was near to his arrest before the crucifixion.  Yet Paul continued with his work and Jesus went along to his fate (but not before speaking at length even more, as John liked to depict him doing).

The Johannine narrative of Jesus has him comforting his apostles, telling them not to let their hearts be troubled, shortly before his apprehension, torture, and execution.  The Jesus of John’s Gospel is in control; he is I AM.  I would be fearful if the might of the Roman Empire were about to fall upon me, and that fear would be rational, given the Empire’s history to that time.  Yet all these facts contribute the power of the Johannine depiction of Jesus.

And the Apostle Paul, after a stoning and near-death, continued with his work.  I might think after a stoning that I would need to find another line of work–something less dangerous–but Paul was a different character.  (Aren’t you glad Paul had as much perseverance as he did?)  Paul rose (with help from his fellow Christians) and went on his way.  Jesus rose and went on his way (with his apostles).  Each person has a vocation or set of vocations from God at any given moment.  When we experience difficulty because of our faithfulness to them we need to gather our strength then rise and go on our way, not give up.  And the support of religious fellow travelers, if available, proves helpful in the journey of faith.

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, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May

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