Life in the Spirit

The Feast of Pentecost; 23 May 2021; Pentecost B (RCL); Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35, 37; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:14b-15.

I’m always fascinated by verses the lectionary omits. In the reading from John’s Gospel, the first three and half verses of chapter 16 have to do with the hour coming when John’s community will be put of the synagogue, and persecuted even to death. I understand why we would want to leave those verse out, but I don’t think the rest of the reading makes sense without them. Jesus tells his disciples that it is for their benefit that he is going away, so that the Advocate may come. The advocate will charge the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

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Whither Jesus?

Seventh Sunday of Easter; 16 May 2021; Easter 7B (RCL); Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19.

The first words out of Jesus’ mouth in John’s Gospel are addressed to the two disciples of John the Baptist who follow Jesus. Jesus turns and sees them following and asks, “What do you seek?” They reply, “Rabbi, where to you remain?” Jesus answers, “Come and see,” giving us, the readers of the Gospel, an invitation to discover where Jesus remains (the verb μένειν, menein, to remain, and its cognates appear dozens of times in John’s Gospel). This is the central question of the Gospel

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The fruit of love

Sixth Sunday of Easter; 9 May 2021; Easter 6B (RCL); Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17.

Last week, we read the image of the vine in John’s Gospel, and this week’s reading continues on from there. The whole purpose of Jesus’ command that we love one another as he has loved us is so that we might be fruitful. John never does tell us what fruitfulness looks like, and so leaves it open for each community to discover for itself what is good and ripe and juicy.

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