Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission
Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Easter 4, New Testament Lesson

Acts 7: 51-60

"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."  When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Reflection on Acts 7: 51-60
by John Gibbs, Ph D

"Becoming People Who Are Safe for the World" (Sheep of the Shepherd)

The stoning of Stephen is at one with the violence of the thief. Such violence kills not only people but also any creature. It is the opposite of the Shepherd's leading, the antithesis of God the Lord's creation and redemption. Such violence cannot be stopped by further violence. "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" were Stephen's last words. They are to be the last word of any People who have become safe for the world.

To Reflections on other Readings for this Sunday:
Old Testament
Nehemiah 9:6-15
Psalm 23
New Testament
1 Peter 2:19-25 or 
Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60
this page
John 10:1-10

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN.   He originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.

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