long ago, faithful women
proclaimed the good news
of Jesus' resurrection,
and the world was changed forever.
Teach us to keep faith with them,
that our witness may be as bold,
our love as deep,
and our faith as true. Amen.
By the time we actually preach this week's sermon it will be May, and hopefully spring, but liturgically we are still in the midst of Easter, which means our lectionary readings continue to be drawn from Acts, Revelation and John. This week in Acts we find an account of Paul and his traveling companions in the act of discerning what Paul's vision means; They set out for Philippi, a Roman colony, where they encounter the faithful Lydia. journeying, ending up in the house of Lydia.
Our reading from the Revelation of John presents us with a vivid picture of the New Jerusalem. I cannot hear this reading without also hearing, "Shall we gather at the river?" My favorite rendition by the Miserable Offenders is now available on iTunes, but this version by Anonymous 4 is hauntingly beautiful as well.
The lectionary provides us with a choice of gospel readings this week. Our first option continues Jesus' farewell discourse to his disciples. Jesus reassures his faithful followers that that he will send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to empower them, and he promises them peace even as he leaves them behind. The alternative gospel reading, also from John finds Jesus outside the Sheep Gate going in to Jerusalem where he heals a lame man who lies by the gate, telling him to "Stand up, take your mat and walk."