meet quarterly close to the solstice and equinox.
Year B, Easter 5
Revised Common Lectionary
|Acts 8: 26-40
Then an angel of the Lord said to
Philip, 'Get up and go towards the south to the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' (This is a
wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there
was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace,
queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury.
He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning
home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet
Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over to
this chariot and join it.' So Philip ran up to it
and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked,
'Do you understand what you are reading?' He replied,
'How can I, unless someone guides me?' And he invited
Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage
of the scripture that he was reading was this:
- 'Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
- and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
- so he does not open his mouth.
The eunuch asked Philip, 'About
whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about
himself or about someone else?' Then Philip began
to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed
to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going
along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch
said, 'Look, here is water! What is to prevent me
from being baptized?' He commanded the chariot to
stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went
down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When
they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord
snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more,
and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself
at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region,
he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until
he came to Caesarea.
- In his humiliation justice was denied him.
- Who can describe his generation?
- For his life is taken away from the earth.'
|Psalm 22: 24-30
My praise is of him in the great assembly; *
- I will perform my vows in the presence
of those who worship him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
- and those who seek the LORD shall praise him: *
- "May your heart live for ever!"
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the
- and all the families of the nations
bow before him.
- 27 For kingship
belongs to the LORD; *
- he rules over the nations.
- 28 To him
alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship;
- all who go down to the dust fall
- 29 My soul
shall live for him;
- my descendants shall serve him; *
- they shall be known as the LORD'S
- 30 They
shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
- the saving deeds that he has done.
|1 John 4: 7-21
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of
God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know
God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us
in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that
we might live through him. In this is love, not that we
loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be
the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God
loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No
one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives
in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in
him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent
his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those
who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide
in God. So we have known and believe the love that God
has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in
love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been
perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness
on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in
this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love
casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and
whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love
because he first loved us. Those who say, I love
God, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars;
for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they
have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The
commandment we have from him is this: those who love God
must love their brothers and sisters also.
|John 15: 1-8
I am the true vine, and my Father
is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that
bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes*
to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed
by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as
I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by
itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless
you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because
apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide
in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches
are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you
abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever
you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified
by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Reflection on Readings for
Year B, Easter 5
by John G Gibbs, PhD
We do not orbit in far-distant
solitude, suspended in ground-less space between gravitational
(or centripetal) and centrifugal forces. To the contrary, scripture's
humanity is an earth-bound community. We are located, specifically
located on earth within the creation, our home.
As a consequence: we cannot
know ourselves apart from the creation. Neither can we fathom
creation cut off from humanity. Moreover, creation and all creatures
(humanity included) presuppose the Creator. John Calvin's Institutes
of the Christian Religion begins in its first paragraph
with the connection between the knowledge of God and of ourselves:
"Nearly all the wisdom we possess
consists of two
parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined
by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other
is not easy to discern." [The first volume of the Institutes
is vol. 20 of The Library of Christian Classics, tr.
of vol. 20 being Ford Lewis Battles; Philadelphia: Westminster,
1960. Quote is from vol. 20, pp. 35-37.]
We move in our thinking back
and forth between ourselves, the vast creation including our
home earth, and God the Creator. Right there, in that nexus,
our 4 texts for today speak their message: "love,"
"abide," the man Jesus "like a sheep," "like
a sheep led to the slaughter." Right there, in that nexus
between humanity, our home earth, and our Creator God, Jesus
is "like a lamb silent before its shearer," the prophetic
"suffering Servant" [Isaiah 52:13-53:12, the fourth
Servant Song, from which Luke quotes 53:7-8] who models our
life together within and for this earth our home.
It is a picture of service,
self-giving for the sake of one's "brothers and sisters"
(including our fellow creatures). It is a portrait of active
love living without fear, focused on the needs of our neighbors
near and far. The watchword is this: how we live among visible
fellow creatures proclaims for all to see just how we live before
the invisible God. When we live that way, then what you do not
see is what you get just the same.
It is a watchword and a message
that undergirds our concept of EcoJustice and our practice of
earth care. The great "creation texts" specifically
address the creation, the creatures, and the mandates for our
responsible life among them - all in a way that our 4 texts
for today do not. But these 4 texts do show us a humanity that
has been made safe for the world around it. Ours is a humanity
that has been called to safeguard the original "goodness"
of the creation. About the kind of humanity that is fit for
that mission - about that, these 4 texts speak clearly.
To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Easter
|Reflections available at the
Acts 8:26-40 or
Acts 8: 26-40
Psalm 22: 24-30
|New Testament Reading:
1 John 3: (14-17) 18-24
or Acts 8:26-40
1 John 4: 7-21
John 15: 1-8
Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, resided in Park Rapids,
MN, when he originally wrote this reflection in 2012. 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
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