Archive for the ‘Acts 11’ Tag

Devotion for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  St. Barnabas

Image in the Public Domain

Son of Encouragement

APRIL 25, 2021

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 11:19-30

Psalm 23

1 Thessalonians 2:9-20

Luke 14:15-24

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A few themes converge in this set of readings.  Divine judgment and mercy exist in balance.  Only divine love may pursue the faithful in Psalm 23, but the enemies have pronounced judgment on themselves.  Indeed, one may understand the wrath of God as proverbial chickens to roost.  Accepting an invitation to the divine banquet then making bad excuses for not attending is a bad option.  On the other hand, encouraging others in the faith, as St. Joseph Barnabas did to and with St. Paul the Apostle, is a wise course of action.

“Barnabas” means “Son of Encouragement.”  That is a fitting name for the saint.

May each of us be a ____ of encouragement–a son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, father, mother, neighbor, friend, et cetera–of encouragement.  The emphasis  belongs on “of encouragement.”  May we encourage each other in Christ, so that we all may achieve our full stature in Christ, not pronounce judgment on ourselves.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

TUESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT TIKHON OF MOSCOW, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GEORGE THE YOUNGER, GREEK ORTHODOX BISHOP OF MITYLENE

THE FEAST OF JAY THOMAS STOCKING, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MONTFORD SCOTT, EDMUND GENNINGS, HENRY WALPOLE, AND THEIR FELLOW MARTYRS, 1591 AND 1595

THE FEAST OF RANDALL DAVIDSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/son-of-encouragement/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Devotion for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year C (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  St. Simon Peter

Image in the Public Domain

Not Standing in God’s Way

APRIL 18, 2021

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 11:1-18

Psalm 30

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Luke 24:36-53

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The four assigned readings share the context of an uneasy situation.  We read a prayer of thanksgiving of a person who has recovered from a potentially fatal illness in Psalm 30.  The slime in the pit of Sheol will not praise God, but a living person does.  We also read of St. Simon Peter defending his actions (from Acts 10) to his fellow Jewish Christians, whom he persuades.  We read of past suffering in 1 Thessalonians 2.  And we read of Jesus comforting and empowering frightened Apostles in Luke 24.

My keynote for this post comes from Acts 11:17b:

How could I stand in God’s way?

The Revised English Bible (1989)

When God refuses to fit into or respect the categories that provide psychological comfort to us and reinforce our defense mechanisms, how do we respond or react?  Do we respond or do we react?  (Yes, those words have different definitions.)  Many of us, regardless of where we fall on the liberal-conservative scale overall and on each issue, identify ourselves as insiders and others as outsiders.  Outsiders exist, of course, but God’s criteria for defining insiders and outsiders differ from ours.  And what if one who imagines oneself to be an insider is actually an outsider?

No devout person tries to stand in God’s way, I suppose.  Yet many do, sometimes.  We humans frequently mistake our standards for those of God.  We may do our best, according to what we know or think we know, but we can and do err.

May we, by grace, never stand in God’s way.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 6, 2020 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 413

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN HALL KENNEDY, GREEK AND LATIN SCHOLAR, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF DANIEL G. C. WU, CHINESE-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF EMIL BRUNNER, SWISS REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF MILNER BALL, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, LAW PROFESSOR, WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, AND HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT NOKTER BALBULUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/not-standing-in-gods-way/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Devotion for Monday and Tuesday After the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

St. Barnabas

Above:  St. Barnabas

Image in the Public Domain

Friendship

MAY 20 and 21, 2019

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Collect:

O Lord God, you teach us that without love, our actions gain nothing.

Pour into our hearts your most excellent gift of love, that,

made alive by your Spirit, we may know goodness and peace,

through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 34

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 20:1-23, 35-42 (Monday)

2 Samuel 1:4-27 (Tuesday)

Psalm 133 (Both Days)

Acts 11:19-26 (Monday)

Acts 11:27-30 (Tuesday)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Oh, how good and pleasant it is

when brethren live together in unity!

It is like fine oil upon the head

that runs down upon the beard,

Upon the beard of Aaron,

and runs down upon the collar of his robe.

It is like the dew of Hermon

that falls upon the hills of Zion.

For there the LORD has ordained the blessing,

life for evermore.

–Psalm 133, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Friendship is a form of such unity.

Jonathan remained David’s friend, even to the detriment of his (Jonathan’s) relationship with his father, King Saul.  In 1 Samuel 20:30 the monarch cursed out his son, although few versions in English have rendered the verse accordingly.  Saul’s reminder that Jonathan was also endangering his own potential kingship were rational yet ultimately unnecessary, for father and son died at about the same time.

St. Barnabas was a major ally of St. Paul the Apostle.  He assisted the former Saul of Tarsus, violent foe of nascent Christianity, who had become a convert to the faith recently.  St. Barnabas escorted St. Paul to meet with the understandably frightened remaining Apostles (Acts 9:26-28).  St. Barnabas, working among the Christians of Antioch, left to retrieve St. Paul from Tarsus and took him to Antioch (Acts 11:19-26).  Sts. Barnabas and Paul carried alms to Jerusalem (11:27-30).  The two men traveled together on evangelistic journeys (Acts 13:2).  St. Barnabas addressed the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:12), and he and St. Paul delivered the decree thereof to churches (Acts 15:22-31).  The two men parted company because they disagreed strongly over taking John Mark (St. Mark the Evangelist) with them, so Sts. Barnabas and Mark traveled together afterward (Acts 15:36-39).  Although St. Paul respected St. Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6 and Galatians 2:1, 9), he criticized his former traveling companion for, like St. Simon Peter, refusing table fellowship with Gentiles (Galatians 2:13).  Nevertheless, St. Barnabas had helped to make the former Saul of Tarsus the figure who became St. Paul the Apostle, vouching for him at a crucial juncture.  What if St. Barnabas had been wrong about St. Paul?  He took that risk.

Friends are people who stand by us at the most difficult times.  Such people are natural agents of divine grace.  May each of us have such friends and be such a friend to others, for the glory of God and for the common good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 2, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN KONRAD WILHELM LOEHE, BAVARIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND COORDINATOR OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SABINE BARING-GOULD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/friendship/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Twenty-Ninth Day of Easter: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C   13 comments

Above:  Descent of the New Jerusalem

Seemingly Upside-Down Yet Really Right Side-Up

MAY 19, 2019

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Acts 11:1-18 (Revised English Bible):

News came to the apostles and the members of the church in Judaea that Gentiles too had accepted the word of God; and when Peter came up to Jerusalem those who were of Jewish birth took issue with him.

You have been visiting men who are uncircumcised,

they said,

and sitting at table with them!

Peter began by laying before them the facts as they had happened.

I was at prayer in the city of Joppa,

he said,

and while in a trance I had a vision:  I saw something coming down that looked like a great sheet of sailcloth, slung by the four corners and lowered from heaven till it reached me.  I looked intently to make out what was in it and I saw four-footed beasts, wild animals, reptiles, and birds.  Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’  But I said, “No, Lord!  Nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  A voice from heaven came a second time:  ‘It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean.’  This happened three times, and then they were all drawn up again into heaven.  At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying; and the Spirit told me to go with them.  My six companions here came with me and we went into the man’s house.  He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, ‘Sent to Joppa for Simon Peter.  He will speak words that will bring salvation to you and all your household.’ Hardly had I begun speaking, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as upon us at the beginning, and I recalled what the Lord had said:  ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  God gave them no less a gift than he gave us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  How could I stand in God’s way?’

When they heard this their doubts were silenced, and they gave praise to God.

This means,

they said,

that God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.

Psalm 148 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Hallelujah!

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

praise him in the heights.

2 Praise him, all you angels of his;

praise him, all his host.

3 Praise him, sun and moon;

praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, heaven of heavens,

and you waters above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the Name of the LORD;

for he commanded, and they were created.

He made them stand fast for ever and ever;

he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,

you sea-monsters and all deeps;

8 Fire and hail, snow and fog,

tempestuous wind, doing his will;

9 Mountains and all hills,

fruit trees and cedars;

10 Wild beasts and all cattle,

creeping things and winged birds;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,

princes and all rulers of the world;

12 Young man and maidens,

old and young together.

13 Let them praise the Name of the LORD,

for his Name only is exalted,

his splendor is over earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up strength for his people

and praise for all his loyal servants,

the children of Israel, a people who are near him.

Hallelujah!

Revelation 21:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version):

I  saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

See, the home of God is among mortals.

He will dwell with them as their God;

they will be his peoples,

and God himself will be with them;

he will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Death will be no more;

mourning and crying and pain will be no more,

for the first things have passed away.

And the one who was seated on the throne said,

See, I am making all things new.

Also he said,

Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.

John 13:31-35 (New Revised Standard Version):

When he had gone out, Jesus said,

Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.   If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.  Little children, I am with you only a little longer.  You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter/

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jesus was about to die; that was the context for John 13:31-35.  Soon the forces of violence would take him away.  Yet he rose from the dead, and was therefore beyond their power.  The expanding definition of acceptability became obvious in Acts 11:1-18, with Simon Peter’s vision of foods unclean according to Leviticus 11.  Yet now God declared them clean.  Our Lord’s death had been scandalous; cursed was anyone who died on a tree.  Yet his death, in the Gospel of John, was his glorification.  Then, in Revelation 21, John of Patmos had a vision of the inauguration of God’s order on earth.  The new order was quite different from the old one.  In God, relative to many human ways, matters seem upside-down.

I invite you, O reader, to examine your society, culture, and subculture. Also examine your attitudes relative to the standard of compassion.  In which ways do you see practices and attitudes consistent with loving others with Christ’s love?  (John 13:34-35)  Where do you recognize inconsistencies?  And what will you do about them?

Our mission during this time of extended liminality is to love others with Christ’s love regardless of what that costs us.  Jesus died for it, as did most of his Apostles.  Many faithful Christians have become martyrs doing this.  Others have suffered persecution yet not death.  And we who have not suffered are the fortunate ones.  If loving others with Christ’s love means violating religious traditions, so be it, for people matter more than traditions.  Jesus taught us that in the Gospels.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/seemingly-upside-down-yet-really-right-side-up/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Twenty-Fourth Day of Easter   11 comments

Above:  Icon of Jesus

Grace and Congregational Life

April 27, 2021

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Acts 11:19-26 (Revised English Bible):

Meanwhile those who had been scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, bringing the message to Jews only and to no others.  But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them, and these, when they arrived at Antioch, began to speak to Gentiles as well, telling them the good news of the Lord Jesus.  The power of the Lord was with them, and a great many became believers and turned to the Lord.

The news reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem; and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he arrived and saw the divine grace at work, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to hold fast to the Lord with resolute hearts, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And large numbers were won over to the Lord.

He went off to Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.  For a whole year the two of them lived in fellowship with the church there, and gave instruction to large numbers.  It was in Antioch that the disciples first got the name of Christians.

Psalm 87 (Revised English Bible):

The city of the LORD founded stands on the holy hills.

He loves the gates of Zion

more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken about you, city of God.

I shall count Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me;

of Philistines, Tyrians, and Nubians it will be said,

Such as a one born there.

Of Zion it will be said,

This one and that one were born there.

The Most High himself establishes her.

The LORD will record in the register of the peoples:

this one was born there.

Singers and dancers alike say,

The source of all good is in you.

John 10:22-30 (Anchor Bible):

It was winter, and the time came for the feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.  Jesus was walking in the temple precincts, in Solomon’s Portico, when [some of] the Jews gathered around him and demanded,

How long are you going to keep us in suspense?  If you really are the Messiah, tell us so in plain words.

Jesus answered,

I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The works that I am doing in my Father’s name give testimony for me, but you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice; and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one will snatch them from my hand.  My Father, as to what he has given me, is greater than all, and from the Father’s hand no one can snatch away.  The Father and I are one.

The Collect:

Grant, Almighty God, that the commemoration of our Lord’s death and resurrection may continually transform our lives and be manifested in our deeds; 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 rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia.  This formative experience had both positive and negative consequences.  On one hand, I received a helpful theological education almost by osmosis.  On the other hand, I witnessed the dark underbelly of small, rural church life.  No matter how long one belongs to a congregation which consists of interlocking extended families, one is not really a part of said congregation unless one is related closely by genetics or marriage.  And too many times I witnessed one person or a small cadre of people driving away another is a series of pastors as other church members said that they had to live with him, her, or them, so “sorry,” but not really.  I have become somewhat jaded about congregational life, a fact which helps explain why I have remained a lay person.  As churchy as I am, I might seem a natural choice for an order of the clergy (probably the Diaconate), but do not feel attracted or called to it at this time.

So I respond strongly to the description of congregational life in Acts.  And I think about certain troubled people who caused trouble in some of the churches my father pastored and think that they did not act as Jesus’ sheep.  Yet I recall something my father told me:  “Troubled people cause trouble.”  Also, I remember that I need to be slow to judge these matters and people involved in them.  Perhaps these individuals did the best they could, as they understood it.  Maybe they believed they were acting properly.

Nevertheless, my faith survived my youthful church experiences.  That faith is in God, not any human beings or institutions.  And my faith tells me to act as Barnabas, Saul (Paul), and many Christians at Antioch:  engaging in fellowship, rejoicing in the wondrous acts of God, and instructing.  My faith compels me to help create and to nourish positivity and to reject negativity.  It commands me not to give up on organized religion just because I have crossed paths with some severely troubled people with imbalanced egos and destructive (to the congregation) agendas.  They are not my concern, and they and I stand in dire need of grace.

KRT

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

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/grace-and-congregational-life/

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2021, April 27, Episcopal Church Lectionary

Tagged with , ,

Twenty-Third Day of Easter   11 comments

Gentiles:  The Other Sheep

April 26, 2021

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Acts 11:1-18 (Revised English Bible):

News came to the apostles and the members of the church in Judaea that Gentiles too had accepted the word of God; and when Peter came up to Jerusalem those who were of Jewish birth took issue with him.

You have been visiting men who are uncircumcised,

they said,

and sitting at table with them!

Peter began by laying before them the facts as they had happened.

I was at prayer in the city of Joppa,

he said,

and while in a trance I had a vision:  I saw something coming down that looked like a great sheet of sailcloth, slung by the four corners and lowered from heaven till it reached me.  I looked intently to make out what was in it and I saw four-footed beasts, wild animals, reptiles, and birds.  Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter, kill and eat.’  But I said, “No, Lord!  Nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’  A voice from heaven came a second time:  ‘It is not for you to call profane what God counts clean.’  This happened three times, and then they were all drawn up again into heaven.  At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying; and the Spirit told me to go with them.  My six companions here came with me and we went into the man’s house.  He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, ‘Sent to Joppa for Simon Peter.  He will speak words that will bring salvation to you and all your household.’ Hardly had I begun speaking, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as upon us at the beginning, and I recalled what the Lord had said:  ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  God gave them no less a gift than he gave us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  How could I stand in God’s way?’

When they heard this their doubts were silenced, and they gave praise to God.

This means,

they said,

that God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also.

Psalm 96 (Revised English Bible):

Sing a new song to the LORD.

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD and bless his name;

day  by day proclaim his victory.

Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvellous deeds to every people.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

he is more to be feared than all gods.

For the gods of the nations are idols every one;

but the LORD made the heavens.

Majesty and splendour attend him,

might and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the LORD, you families of nations,

ascribe to the LORD glory and might;

ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name.

Bring an offering and enter his courts;

in holy attire worship the LORD;

tremble before him, all the earth.

Declare among the nations,

The LORD is King;

the world is established immovably;

he will judge the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad,

let the sea resound and everything in it,

let the fields exult and all that is in them;

let all the trees of the forest shout for joy

before the LORD when he comes,

when he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with justice

and peoples by his faithfulness.

John 10:1-18 (Anchor Bible):

(Note:  The Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts lists 10:1-10 as the Gospel reading for Year C and 10:11-18 as the Gospel reading for Years A and B.  I have merged these.)

[Jesus said,]

Truly I assure you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a bandit.  The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep; for him the keeper opens the gate.  And the sheep hear his voice and he calls by name those that belong to him and leads them out.  When he has brought out [all] his own, he walks in front of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.  But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.

Although Jesus drew this picture for them, they did not understand what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said [to them again],

Truly I assure you, I am the sheepgate.  All who came [before me] are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not heed them.  I am the gate.  Whoever enters me will be saved; and he will go in and out and find pasture.  A thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.  I came that they may have life and to have it to the full.

I am the model shepherd: the model shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, catches sight of the wolf coming, and runs away, leaving the sheep to be snatched and scattered by the wolf.  And this is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the model shepherd: I know my sheep and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.  And for these sheep I lay down my life.  I have other sheep, too, that do not belong to this fold.  These also must I lead, and they will listen to my voice.  Then there will be one sheep herd, one shepherd.  This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.  No one has taken it away from me; rather, I lay it down of my own accord.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to lay it down again.  This command I received from my Father.

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given your Church the great joy of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Give us also the greater joy of the kingdom of your elect, when the flock of your Son will share in the final victory of its Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

+++++++++++++

The other sheep who did not yet belong the fold in Jesus’ analogy were Gentiles.  The Apostle Peter extended his mission to include Gentiles, surprising himself and scandalizing others.  This was a common reaction at the time.  Indeed, if one reads the three verses past John 10:18, one notices that some Jews accused our Lord of being demon-possessed and out of his mind, although others rejected this interpretation.

Scandalous grace extends to all who will respond favorably, exposing as useless human attempts to make people seem worthy.  Peter realized this after his vision.  As he said, he could not stand in God’s way.  So I challenge everyone (beginning with myself) to ask oneself the following questions:  Am I standing in God’s way?  If so, in what way?  Then I challenge everyone (beginning with myself) to get out of the way and to stay there.

KRT

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

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2021, April 26, Episcopal Church Lectionary

Tagged with , ,