Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B

Readings for 5th Sunday of Easter, 5/3/15:
Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:25-31, 1 John 4:7-21, John 15:1-8

Acts 8:26-40:
  • Rarely mentioned in the gospels, here disciple Philip gets a whole scene, as he explains a text from Isaiah (sheep to the slaughter) to a eunuch. Philip interprets the passage as speaking about Christ, and the scene ends with the eunuch's baptism, and Philip continuing preaching the good news.
  • Philip leads here a mini-Bible study. Do you feel comfortable helping others understand scriptures? Who best helped you understand what you were reading in the Bible? How did they teach you?
  • "how can I, unless someone guides me?" The eunuch has no problem letting someone help him. I have a harder time asking for help, submitting to teaching. I like to think I can do it on my own. When/how can you be open to someone guiding you in your spiritual life?
Psalm 22:25-31:
  • We saw this Psalm in its entirety on Good Friday, and in part with mostly this same selection earlier in Lent. Today, our focus is not the "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" section we usually associate with this Psalm. This section is the conclusion of the Psalm - a much more hopeful section.
  • Dominion belongs to God - not to us. God has (vs. 28) God may have given us a limited sense of dominion over creation - a dominion we've much abused, but really, this power belongs to God and not to us. Nevertheless, the world is quite filled with people and leaders who want to claim dominion.
  • "The poor shall eat and be satisfied." What a day to look forward to. But think also metaphorically - how often do we fill ourselves and our lives with things that don't really satisfy us? Whenever we do, we are outside of God's plans and hopes for us.
  • "deliverance to a people yet unborn" - God's promises are not just for us, but for those yet to come. We can help or hinder God's salvation getting to those yet to come.
1 John 4:7-21:
  • A common wedding text, one that I personally prefer to 1 Corinthians 13. Our love, our basis and example for loving one another is God's love for us. How does God love you? How do you love others? In the same way? Is your love of others like God's love for you?
  • "abide" - this word shows up in the epistle and in the gospel lesson for today. It is from the Greek meno^, which means literally "to stay at home, to stay where one is, to not stir." It has the sense of "lasting" or "remaining." On a day when we also celebrate in the UMC "The Festival of the Christian Home," this is a perfect image. We are 'at home' in God's love, not wanting to stir from that place. And God is at home in us, if we let God.
  • "that we may have boldness" - boldness because we are at home, trusting and resting in God's love. This knowledge gives us confidence, boldness to act.
  • "liars" - John has this strong word for those who claim to love God but hate their neighbors. Illogical, John says, eloquently.
  • "perfect love casts out fear." Nice. Perfect love.
John 15:1-8:
  • I love this text, and always think of the sermon Bishop Janice Riggle Huie gave on this text at General Conference in 2000. I highly recommend reading it ("Hanging on for Dear Life." She said, in warning, that branches don't cut off other branches. Excellent.
  • Again, abide - at home in God. (see notes above on meaning of 'abide.')
  • Pruning and cutting down are different processes. We all need to be pruned. But in fear of being cut out altogether I think we resist God's pruning of us. But pruning produces even better fruit. How have you let God, or refused/resisted God's pruning of you?


Popular posts from this blog

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon, "Invitational: Deep Waters," Luke 5:1-11

Sermon 1/31/16 Luke 5:1-11 Invitational: Deep Waters                         I’m fascinated by the fact that for all that we know, as much as we have discovered, for all of the world we humans feel like we have conquered, there are still so many that things that we don’t know and can’t control, so much that we are learning yet, every day. Even today, every year, scientists discover entirely new species of plants and animals. And one part of our world that is rich in things yet-to-be-discovered is in the mysterious fathoms below – the deep, deepest waters of the ocean. In 2015, for example, scientists discovered this Ceratioid anglerfish that lives in the nicknamed “midnight zone” of the ocean. It doesn’t look like other anglerfish – one news article described it as looking like a “rotting old shoe with spikes, a scraggly mustache and a big mouth with bad teeth. And it has a long, angular fishing pole-looking thing growing out of its head.” [1] Or there’s Greedo, named after