Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 5, 2016 | by Leah Laird

Reading 1 Reading 2 Reading 3 Reading 4 Reading 1 Alt Reading 2 Alt
Acts 16:16-34 Psalms 97 Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 John 17:20-26 Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

What does it mean to be in communion with the divine?

Last week the lectionary focused on who belongs in the divine community. This week we learn of the benefits and expectations of community membership.

Acts 16:16-34

Here the author recounts the tale of one of Paul’s prison experiences. The story opens with Paul and Silas being followed by a demon possessed slave-girl whom they release from oppression. The discussion of the slave-girl’s demon possession is a witness to the divine relationship the missionaries have with the creator and a segway to the missionaries’ imprisonment (a common trope found throughout the biblical text: see Gen. 39:20-23; Jer. 20:1-6; Dan 6:16-18; John 18:12 & 28-38; Acts 12:1-5)

Of the many take-aways from this missionary tale, the reader is reminded that there is a way in which those in relationship with the creator are privileged (the deity displays a control over creation that would benefit the faithful followers); the reader is also given a positive example of the humility and honesty of those in this community as they interact with outsiders.

Those acting on behalf of the creator consider the repercussions of their actions on others. This is rewarded with an increase in goodwill among the “others,” and moves those “others” from outside of the community to full community membership.

Psalms 97 & Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

This psalm is considered by some to be among the enthronement psalms. The psalm celebrates the deity’s kingship, strength, and dominion. The Revelation passage clearly places Jesus in the line of Kingship (v. 16).

As is the case in the Acts passage, the reader is reminded (in both passages) of the might of the deity, the benefits of community membership, and expectations of those in relationship with the deity.

John 17:20-26

This is the third section of Jesus’ “Priestly” prayer. Here Jesus prays for his followers. The central focus of this prayer is the unity of the community with Jesus and the deity. This unity is reiterated several times throughout this section of the prayer. Included in this unity is the glory and love shared between the creator and created.