Meditation

Sunday Sermon for 6th Sunday of Easter – 05/22/2022

Psalm 67; Acts 16:9-15; Revelation 21:10, 22-22

Psalm 67 is a prayer blessing. Blessing is God’s constant action in supplying our daily needs through an almost unnoticeable process. The slow but sure growth of crops is a major example of blessings, as are continued good health and the availability of necessary resources for living. God promised to use His people as a source of blessing to all nations. Thus this is a missionary prayer which recognizes the principle that the ends of the earth will fear God when He works through those He has chosen. When the nation has been a blessing, then it will receive blessing. Prayer involves the missionary purpose of God’s people and the daily blessings needed for survival as well as deliverance from enemies and catastrophe.

In Acts, we read where God gave Paul a vision of moving his evangelistic mission across the border, to expand the growth of the Christian communities. It mentions that frequently worship was held outside, and not in church buildings, revealing that God could work in or out of formal worship facilities. I am reminded of churches in Africa, where people will walk from 3 to 5 hours for worship, and they are not satisfied with a shout service, for they have come to worship God through hard, arduous efforts and were faced with walking home in the same amount of time that it took to walk to church in the first place. As Christians, we are to meet regularly to pray together, and it matters not whether it is in the comfort of air conditioned buildings or not. Our worship puts us in the right frame of mind to take the gospel wherever we happen to go or be or whom we are with. In the mindset of St. Francis of Assisi, “Take the gospel into the world and when necessary, used words.” We are to live out the gospel in our words and our actions, beloved, and do so every day.

In Revelations we are blessed with a wondrous description of the Glory of God, a “jasper,” “clear as crystal and it shown with God’s glory and it was magnificent, lowering down out of heaven by God. The impact of these verses is that it is more symbolic than literal, though its beauty is not any less received than intended. The force is this passage is perhaps found more in its overall impact and impression that in its details, thought each detail can be seen to have a precious meaning. The centrality of Christ the Lamb is unmistakable. The purity of heaven is guaranteed by the prohibition against anything entering that would defile it holiness.

In John’s Gospel, we read again the story of the man at the pool, and invalid man had spent 38 years believing in the power of healing that the pools represented. However, he could not get in the pool by himself. It’s sad really, he was placing his faith in the water of the pools and the hope that one day, someone would come along and help him into the pool. Along comes Jesus and he notices the man and was told he had been there for years upon years and he looks at him and says: “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. A little while later the Jews asked him what day it was and he replied, “It is the Sabbath.” The Jews then chastised him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath, but he related the story of a man who told him to stand up and take his mat, yet he didn’t know his name. Jesus came up to him in the market and told him to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him.

The Jews were tripping over the details of the law, when they should have been praising God for a miracle healing for the man. There are times when we do the same things, yet when it is us that become the invalid, we look for understanding from others..

Recently here locally a elderly man called for help and emergency services showed up and saw the man was suffering from the heat. His air conditioner was broken and he couldn’t afford to fix it. They took him to the hospital where he received the necessary treatment to regain his health, while the police, ems, and fire depts went and obtained a new air conditioner for the man, and had it installed, so that when he returned home, he would have the necessary cool air to live. Beloved, we see people in trouble regularly and maybe we cannot afford to do what the first responders did, but we can do something and may join other groups to make a difference for someone we know is in need.

The healing at the pool is a good example of how each one of us can do something. The man tried for 38 years but was unable to get to the pool, as others went ahead of him. Sometimes our efforts are not appreciated, but we must try anyway; sometimes we received grief for trying to do the right thing, but we must do it anyway; sometimes we may reach out to someone in need and it may be the Lord, checking to see what we will do, but we must treat the person as if they are our Lord and help them anyway. Amen

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