WORSHIP TOGETHER | Preparing Our Hearts for Sunday 5/19

Sunday, May 19, 2019

5th Sunday of Easter

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148
Second Reading: Rev. 21:1-6
Gospel Reading: John 13:31-35

The liturgical color for the day is: White

From the Clarity of Identity Bible Study – Unit 3 on Acts 11

This is the story of the emerging church sorting through its roots and relationships.  The church, rooted in Judaism, is confronted by the reality of Gentile believers.  What will the church do?  Will it welcome these new believers by requiring that they conform to rules and regulations that guide historic members?  Will the church bend and shape itself to welcome the newcomers and thereby shift its own self-understanding of priorities and practices?  Such issues are alive and well in the emerging church today!

Framed another way, this text in Acts 11 addresses the question of who is in and who is out when it comes to being followers of Christ.  With Peter’s testimony and account of God’s revelation and actions, the circle has just been drawn in such a way that more are in than were previously.  The role and posture of the leaders in the Jerusalem church should not be overlooked.  While initially they were questioning, yet they listened, remained open, and then allowed their viewpoints to be transformed by the witness they encountered.

From the Clarity of Identity Bible Study – Unit 3 on John 13

The “new commandment” Jesus gives to the disciples to love brings into focus the whole of the commandments.  The centrality of love is essential in the immediate and for the long haul.  In the immediate the disciples will confront issues of fear and anxiety that will easily overshadow the centrality of love.  Fear and anxiety will pull the disciples apart at a time when they will most need the centrality of love.

The commandment to love has a beautiful facet that makes it astounding by nature.  It is simple without being simplistic.  It is simple enough for anyone to take in, and yet it has a complexity that invites infinite opportunities and challenges in living it out.  The very nature of the commandment shifts one on the axis from what one believes to how one behaves.


Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter