SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Readings
     Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5; John 14:23-29

Collect         
Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you riches beyond imagination. Pour into our hearts such love toward you, that we, loving you above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Alt 1               Gracious God, through a vision you sent forth Paul to preach the gospel and called the women to a place of prayer on the sabbath. Like Paul and Lydia, may our hearts respond to your word and be open to go where you lead us. Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002)

Alt 2              Holy One, you breathe the word of love and the promise of new creation into the secret places of our lives. Teach us the costly way of fearless love and priceless peace; through Jesus Christ, who dwells in us.

Prayers for an Inclusive Church (2009) alt.

Prayer over the Gifts

God of glory, accept all we offer you this day, and bring us to that eternal city of love and light, where Christ is King. We ask this in his name.

Prayer After Communion

Father, you restored us to life by raising your Son from death. May we who receive this sacrament always be strengthened to do your will, in the name of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

First Reading

8 am              THE FIRST LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 16TH CHAPTER OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. BEGINNING AT THE 9TH VERSE.

10 am                        A READING FROM THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Ne-ap-olis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.

We remained in this city for some days.

On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thy-a-tira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.

When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.”

And she prevailed upon us.

8 am              THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am            HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD

(ACTS 16:9-15)

Psalm

REFRAIN Let all the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. R

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations upon earth. R

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has brought forth her increase; may God, our own God, give us his blessing.

May God give us his blessing, and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him. R

PSALM 67
Second Reading

8 am              THE SECOND LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 21ST CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION TO SAINT JOHN, BEGINNING AT THE 10TH VERSE.

10 am            A READING FROM THE REVELATION TO SAINT JOHN.

And in the spirit, an angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there.

People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations.

But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Nothing accursed will be found there any more.

But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

8 am              THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am           HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD

(REVELATION 21:10, 22-22:5)

Gospel

8 am              THE LORD BE WITH YOU.     AND WITH THY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 14TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT JOHN, BEGINNING AT THE 23RD VERSE.

GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD.

10 am            THE LORD BE WITH YOU.                 AND ALSO WITH YOU.

THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO SAINT JOHN.

GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Jesus answered, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

I have said these things to you while I am still with you.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’

If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.

And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.  PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

JOHN 14:23-29
Sermon

Let us pray.

Peace-giving God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

AMEN

“But wait, there’s more…” This world has peace available.

Perhaps I should say, this world has peace on offer. Peace, that is freedom from widespread violence, is really only available to those who are rich enough to buy it. Those who are wealthy enough to move away under their own steam can have peace.

Those who are left are handed M-16 and AK-47 rifles and told to sort it out – despite not having had any power or say in starting whatever it is that is afflicting them.

Elsewhere in our society we are assured that we can be happy. We really can be.

There’s a catch though.

Happiness is also on offer. You can, we are told, purchase the latest widget to fulfill your every desire. The founder of K-Tel, Philip Kives, died a while ago and for some reason that has stuck with me. His business model was to aggressively hock unique plastic house wares that would last just long enough for people to not bother returning them when they broke. He also repackaged classic music into compilations so that people could get the “best of” a genre of music without having to purchase multiple albums from multiple artists.

“But wait, there’s more…” we were assured by those “As seen on TV” advertisements. There was always just one more thing to separate people from even more their money with the promise of happiness and human fulfillment at the end of the telephone line and on that order desk.

I am a child of the 1980s. K-Tel Veg-o-matics, Multi 7 stain removal cream, and mixed albums were all over the TV in my childhood. Also, I certainly, for a times at least, bought into the assertion that the Mini-Pops were the height of musical accomplishment.

Me and mine, alone in our apartment, and found that the path to fulfillment was the latest piece of plastic shown on the TV.

We are reminded today that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

I think we’ve all likely experienced the disappointments in the shaky peace of this world.

So what is this peace that Jesus has conferred upon His creation, including us?

The peace of Christ is a fulfillment of the ancient covenant promise made to Israel to dwell with the people. It was first realized in the incarnation – the Christmas miracle of God taking human form and dwelling among his creation.

That peace was only temporarily thwarted in the passion of Christ – Good Friday was a setback; humanity, overcome by the forces of evil put God on a cruel cross and walked away.

The peace of God was not to be kept down, though. It was, in fact, revitalized and restored in the resurrection from that roughhewn grave near Calvary. And the Peace of God is fulfilled again in the absence of Jesus and the sending of the ever-present Holy Spirit.

So, the Peace of Christ – what is it?

Speaking to the crowd around him after the resurrection, Jesus assures them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

You, plural, have received the Peace of Christ. The clue is as much in Jesus’ audience as in the Good News he offers.

“But wait, there’s more…” God’s desire for us is that we not be alone in the world!

That we be part of a crowd. That we all be joined to Him in the Body of Christ.

So, are we at peace?

We need never be truly alone in this world. Moments of solitude are nice, restorative even. But the moment someone realizes that they have no one in this world that would miss them if they died – that is a moment of failure for the Body of Christ.

It is the moment when we follow the path of Judas over the path of Jesus. Judas left the trial of Jesus with the realization that there was no one left who cared – He had separated himself from the Disciples and followers of Jesus, and those to whom he had joined himself discarded him with 30 pieces of silver and no place in their society.

The path of Jesus is a path of Love and Community. A path of Peace.

Why doesn’t he give like the world gives?

Because despite our failings time and time again, where the world would ridicule and reject – God embraces and loves. Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.

So, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury – We are always calling for peace: that’s the call of the Church. Peace with God, peace with each other, peace in the world.

Is this what we’re living as the body of Christ?

We are called to love instead of ridicule.

We are called to enfold the unlovable.

We are called to foster community over isolation and despair.

So, let us go forth from this place in love and community.

Let us pray.

Holy One, you breathe the word of love and the promise of new creation into the secret places of our lives. Teach us the costly way of fearless love and priceless peace; through Jesus Christ, who dwells in us.

AMEN