Next Sunday’s Readings – May 1, 2016

6th Sunday of Easter

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29    Revelation 21:10-14,22-23   John 14:23-29

 Acts 15_1 to 2

In the reading from Acts, we see that figuring out the proper rules for the church was a problem, just as it is today. The early church developed a way of dealing with their disagreements using prayer and discernment that was rooted in the Spirit and through consultation with its leaders and members. The question of circumcision was not a minor issue. If uncircumcised Gentiles entered Christ’s church, it meant they would be doing so without accepting the Jewish faith and practices. In dispensing with circumcision, they were acknowledging that the Christian faith was something new and it was open to all believers. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the church promulgated this new teaching in the name of all of its members.

However, this new teaching did not signify a rejection of the Jewish faith. The early Christians recognized the validity of the Hebrew Scriptures and read them through the eyes of Christian faith. In the reading from Revelation, the new and holy city of Jerusalem includes the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. This indicates that the past is part of the future. In the new and holy city, there is no need for a temple of stone or earthly light. The only temple we need is the heart of God and the only light we need is the word of the Lamb of God.

In John’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that if we love him, he will always dwell in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will give us peace of heart and soul. The peace of Christ reminds us that our hearts must always rest in God and in the love of Christ Jesus. Peace is a gift given to the world. We share the gift of peace with one another whenever we act in the name of the Lord. In the midst of division, war, and uncertainty, we can be people of peace by holding fast to the gifts we received in baptism: faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit, and safety in the heart of God.

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