Readings for the week of May 6, 2018

Today’s First Reading, Acts 10:34-48, is the account of the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles (Gentiles are those who are not Jewish). The context is that Peter has been summoned, and sent by God, to the home of a Roman military officer named Cornelius (read all of Acts 10, it is exciting reading!). Peter has now come to understand that the Gospel of Jesus is for all people, not just people who are physically descended from Abraham, and so he proclaims the heart of the message of Jesus – He is empowered by the Holy Spirit, He ministered by word and deed to all in need, He died and rose again for our forgiveness. As Peter is speaking, the Holy Spirit comes upon the Gentiles who are listening and they become Christian. What wonderful news! We, too, by the work of the Holy Spirit causing faith to grow in us and by our baptism into Jesus, are children of God. Through Jesus our sins are forgiven and we are given the gift of eternal life. Thanks be to God!
Holy Spirit of God, thanks and praise to You for filling Cornelius and all in his home with Your presence, and for giving them the gift of faith. Thanks and praise to You for bringing us to faith in Jesus and to forgiveness and new life in Him. Keep us in faith into eternal life through Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 98 is another psalm of praise. Notice that the psalmist calls on all of creation to praise the Lord and sing to Him because He will come to judge the people of the earth with righteousness and equity. Through Jesus our judgment of “guilty of sin” has been turned away, we are forgiven for His sake. Let us join this great hymn of praise of God for His mercy and steadfast love toward us.
Holy Spirit, move us to join the song: Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things! Yes, You have done marvelous things in rescuing Your people from slavery in Egypt, and even more marvelous things in rescuing us from slavery to sin, death, and the devil through the death and resurrection of Jesus our Lord and Savior. We sing to the Lord and new song, for He has done marvelous things! Amen.

The Second Reading, 1 John 5:1-8, continues reading through most of 1 John. Notice the emphasis on the truth that Jesus came, and that there are three witnesses (only two witnesses were necessary in the Old Testament to prove a fact); these witnesses proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah, our Lord and Savior. Especially notice the emphasis on love in this passage: we are to love God and to love His people. How are we doing? Do we love God and His people as we should? If not, we can turn to Him seeking forgiveness and an increase in love.
Holy Spirit, open our hearts and lives to Your witness for Jesus, that in His Baptism, death and resurrection He is the One Who came to redeem us. Enable us to daily live the faith You have given us, and empower us to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Draw more and more people into the kingdom of God. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in John 15:9-17. In the Gospel for last week we were to told to abide in Jesus, and that as do we would bear fruit. This week Jesus tells us that to abide in Him is to abide in His love; to abide in His love is to abide in the victory over sin, death, and the devil which He won through His death and resurrection.
As He has loved us, so He tells us to love one another. His love for us is so great He would give up His life for us; will we do the same for others? Do we love as He loves us?
Notice also that He has chosen us (we don’t choose Him, He chooses us – these are Jesus’ words) and that He has chosen and appointed us to go and bear fruit; His fruit includes loving others as He has first loved us.
Let us bear the fruit of His love in the world, as see how He changes lives with His love.
Holy God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for Your words and actions which proclaim Your love for us. Daily move us to love You and others with the love with which You have first loved us. Let others see Your love for them through our words and actions. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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