Readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Confirmation)
Acts 10:34-48; 1 John 5:1-8; John 15:9-17
Even though it’s late spring, looking at Sunday’s readings brought to mind this line from a familiar Christmas hymn: “Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.” Resist the temptation to sentimentalize those lyrics. Because the birthing experience – while intensely beautiful in its way – is also painful and messy. Just like God’s sanctifying work in us.
How old, I wonder, was Peter when the Lord shattered his traditional ideas of where the lines between Jews and Gentiles were to be drawn? Old enough, I would guess, for it to feel like his legs had been knocked out from under him. “God shows no partiality!?” Salvation for “everyone who believes” regardless of where they’re from or how they were raised!? Something new was born in Peter that day. A newly expanded view of God’s love for the world in Christ. (Ac10)
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God,” says the apostle John. From there he goes on to explain where that rebirth leads us – to the messy business of caring for one another and being daily obedient to our heavenly Father. For that we require the daily pardon and power of the risen Jesus! (1Jn5)
“No longer do I call you servants…but friends,” says Jesus to his disciples. How they, like us, might have preferred a servant’s life – small and manageable, just doing what they’re told. But instead Jesus drew them closer and opened their eyes to see the full work of the Master. God’s plan was to make the world right again, and they were to be his instruments. A new purpose was born in them, and it would forever change the course of their lives. (Jn15)
Look at a painful or messy place in your life today. With God’s help, what fruit might be born there?