Readings for 6th Sunday of Easter, 5/4/13:
Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:1-10, 22 - 22:5, John 14:23-29
- I am particularly interested in the description of Lydia in this passage, one often overlooked by those who insist the Bible directs women to submissive, secondary roles.
- Note the changing voice/narration in this section. Luke becomes first person narrator instead of third. People have speculated on why - poor editing? Was he particularly passionate about passages where he slips into first person? Food for thought.
- Lydia has her whole household baptized. We don't hear anything of a husband, or his position on all this. Interesting.
- "If you have judged me to be faithful . . . " How do you judge the faith of another? We are not supposed to 'judge others' in some senses, but when are we called to judge, in what ways and situations? By what criteria? I thought this an interesting criterion she sets for them - if I am faithful, share my home.
- "Let the people praise you, O God." Amen!
- Asking for God's blessing. Do you ask God to bless you? Part of the Prayer of Jabez phenomenon I found troubling - so much prayer for more for ourselves, so little prayer for others. But sometimes we go to extremes, and don't pray for God's work in our own lives. We just have to remember to be thankful to God as well when we are indeed blessed.
- Switching of voice. Notice changing from directly addressing God to referring to God in the third person. I really like this - it gives me the sense that the psalmist just had to address God directly - wanted it to be close and personal, hence the flip-flopping. Just a thought!
- "You judge the peoples with equity." Not something you would think of offhand to be thankful for, but indeed, even today, or maybe especially today, we can be glad that God can make sense of our worldwide messes even when we cannot.
- Note that the first part of this text is a repeat of last week's passage from Revelation - so check out those notes as well for more details.
- No sun, no moon, new earth, new heaven. I don't know - I guess we have indeed messed up what we have. It's tempting, like John of Patmos, to want new everything, wiped clean everything - more than that - torn down and recreated everything. But sometimes I think it would be more rewarding to renew, refresh, rebuild than to wipe out and start from scratch. I think of God's Old Testament act of destroying the earth with a flood, and when it's all done, God says - "Nah - not gonna do it that way again" - almost like the starting from scratch wasn't all it was cracked up to be after all. Instead, next time, God tried something new, and sent Jesus. Not from scratch, but certainly earth-changing enough for me!
- Love - all about love
- "We will make our home with them." Compare to Revelation: "See, the home of God is wit mortals."
- "I am going away, and I am coming to you." I like this verse. Jesus is going away - being crucified, resurrecting, ascending, not going to be there in the way they have been used to. But Jesus is also coming to them - in a new way, a constant always-with-them way that will shape the rest of their lives.
- This is the around-in-circles talk from John that can be - overwhelming? confusing? annoying? hard to make sense of? Take your pick.
- All this stuff provides some fodder for Trinitarian theology as well.
- Notice the tense (at least in my NRSV - I'm too tired to look up Greek today!) of verse 28b - "If you loved me, you would rejoice" (emphasis added). What does Jesus' wording say about what he believes to be the position of the disciples?