Reflection on the Lectionary

Sunday 15th May (Easter 5 & Christian Aid Week)

Psalm 148 | Acts 11 : 1 – 18 | Revelation 21 : 1 – 6 | John 13 : 31 – 35
This reflection is provided by Local Preacher Sarah James of Faithspace

With Christian Aid week upon us we celebrate 75 years since its start. The beauty of the work of Christian Aid is that it really shows the effectiveness of Christians in global justice issues. Who would have thought so many big ideals would be achieved in those 75 years?

From responding reactively to the needs of refugees after the war, to proactively campaigning and partnering with other agencies, they have tackled the root causes of poverty, with new strategies and approaches. Connecting our thinking about our consumption and the global food crisis has demanded more in the way of official development from our own government.

Isn’t it encouraging that we are not speaking of 19th century philosophy here, but the proof from recent history that our good intentions can come to something? So, we know that we can alter the crooked systems and change the world for the better, challenging and campaigning against the evils in the world and giving concrete aid in the meantime. Looking at our readings today will show that it’s all about making space for the holy City; the new Jerusalem to come down: Revelation 21:1-6; making way for the new heaven and new earth. It means including everyone, Acts 11:1-8 and it all boils down to loving one another, John 13:1-5.

So, Christian Aid week is upon us and we celebrate those seventy five years of the charities work. Its humanitarian relief soon stretched to long term development aid to poorer communities worldwide. By tackling injustice and supporting people’s rights they continue to help the refugee, to tackle racism and poverty at their root causes, to educate those who can, to feed and support those in need. They have managed to tackle apartheid, worked to highlight issues: tax inequalities for developing countries and more recently climate change too, campaigning by bringing organisations together to effect systemic change to alleviate people’s suffering. In short, giving us a way to help and showing us that we can. How will you support Christian Aid this week?

Have a look at today’s readings and consider the following:

Revelation 21:2-6
What difference might it make to life here and now if we believe that the ‘Holy city, the new Jerusalem’ will ‘come down’, as it says in the passage, rather than us being taken up to it?
How and what should we do to prepare for this? What difference could it make to our and others lives?

Acts 11:1-8
The Holy Spirit told Peter to accept everyone ‘and not to make a distinction between them and us. Who do we think of, or treat as Gentiles? Other faiths? Other races? Those who don’t come to church? What if you gave your blessing of the Holy Spirit to everyone you met?

John 13:31-35
This was Jesus’ last commandment and the words he left his disciples to remember.
‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another…. By this everyone will know you are my disciples. If Jesus says we are all to be included and the kingdom is to be lived and grown here: how must we love one another and Gods creation?

For your prayer this week:

1. Contemplate the holy city: what one thing could you do to make way for it?

2. Practice giving God’s peace to everyone you meet; be inventive.

3. Take some time to imagine a place where this ‘loving one another’ is the norm. What would life look like then?

4. Pray for God’s presence with you, that you might understand his love and pass it on.

‘Love one another as I have loved you.’