Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B: John 17:6-19: Liminal Space

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of John.

In today’s passage, Jesus is praying for his followers. He says that they have believed that he was sent from God and his glory is seen in them. He prays that they will be kept safe and will be as one. He also prays that they will happy, though he says the world has hated them because they don’t belong to the world.

The passage ends with this:

Make them ready for your service through your truth. Your teaching is truth. I have sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. I am making myself completely ready to serve you. I do this for them, so that they also might be fully qualified for your service.

John 17:6-19, Easy-to-Read Version

For this passage I’m going to share a link that I found helpful and thought-provoking by Jerrod McCormack from Sermons that Work on the Episcopal Digital Network website. I am currently in a sort of liminal space myself. I’m in the process to become a postulant for the priesthood, but it’s currently out of my hands, waiting for some paperwork to be done between my rector and the bishop.  Meanwhile I’m in a stage of waiting and praying and continuing my life as it is, looking forward to big changes and action to come. I can use this passage from the Gospel as an example of how to abide in God in that liminal space.

 

Proper 18, Year A: Matthew 18:15-20: Community and Conflict

Paper cutouts of colorful people holding hands in a circle

Source: iStockphoto.com

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Proper 18, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Matthew.

This is some very practical teaching about community from Jesus. The Kingdom of God is all about being in relationship with God and with others.

Here’s a great breakdown from a lesson found on the Episcopal Digital Network:

Remember the steps to Conflict Resolution:

  • Step One: Go directly to that person.
    • Remember the Greatest Commandment – Love the Lord your God and Love your Neighbor as yourself.
    • The Golden Rule – treat others how you would want to be treated.
    • Be Respectful and responsible.
  • Step Two: Bring along another person or two.
  • Step Three: Bring the situation to the church (or this may mean to your school, work, or community depending on the situation.)
  • Step Four: Walk away from the situation and take a breather. Continue tocommunicate with the person and when they are ready to come into the community, welcome them.

We can use this kind of advice in a lot of situations, not only within church. I have been in situations where someone had a problem with me or what I was doing, but instead of coming to me with their concern, they seemed to tell other people and it got back to me. I admittedly can think of situations where I complained about another person’s actions without confronting them about it. It’s good to remember that the best choice is to talk directly to the person first (unless they are physically abusive and you need protection from them–in which case you should seek help and not confront someone alone).

 

The Kingdom of God is the community of God–people working together to love their neighbors as themselves.

Proper 8, Year A: Matthew 10:40-42: Righteous Reward

Syrian refugee camp in Turkey

Syrian refugee camp in Turkey – Source: iStockphoto.com/mrtaytas

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Proper 8, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Matthew from Track 2.

This passage is short and sweet, but says so much. These are the last of his instructions to his disciples before he sends them out to do his work. He is saying they are his representatives and how they are received is how he is received by the people. He also talks about the rewards received by those who receive them and do good. To welcome the disciples (or today’s disciples—followers of Christ) is to welcome Jesus himself.

Here’s my favorite part:

[W]hoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.

To me, this takes the analogy further. It is not only about welcoming the disciples but in giving in their name (or in the name of Christ) to others—about welcoming others in kindness. I don’t normally get political here, but it might be considered political to say that I think this goes from the personal to the national. Not only should we be welcoming hosts in our churches and homes, but we should be welcoming refugees and immigrants into our nation. I am not basing that on this little passage along.  Check out this list of Biblical references to immigrants and refugees.

Are we welcoming people into our churches and are we welcoming immigrants and refugees? Please check out the Episcopal Migration Ministries website for information on how the Episcopal Church is welcoming people from all over the world.