Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:11-25; Acts 6:1-9;7:2a, 51-60

A couple of barn swallows made a nest in our garage last spring. This year we’ve kept the garage doors shut in the hopes they’ll set up house somewhere else. But instinct is a powerful force. Day after day those two swallows keep swooping by our garage door in the hopes of finding a way in.

Watching those swallows makes me think of the powerful and universal desire that all humans have for fellowship with their Creator. In the words of Saint Augustine: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”

I hear Jesus speaking to that restlessness in his disciples when he assures them in Sunday’s Gospel lesson that they too have a place in the Father’s house. Yes, heaven is big enough even for them. The key, and the only way, to fellowship with the Father is through faith in His Son. We all want to find our Home with a capital “H”. Jesus is our way there (John 14).

Peter tells us to honor and obey those in earthly authority, even when it leads to unjust suffering. In doing so, we imitate Christ and bring glory to our Heavenly Father (1 Peter 2). In the reading from Acts, we see God helping the early Church deal with internal problems of favoritism and a shortage of help. The apostles create a deacons’ ministry to help the poor in a more effective way. One of those deacons, Stephen, would become the first martyr for the Christian faith (Acts 6,7).