Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on May 17, 2009

Here are the passages for May 17th, 2009, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B). All links are to the TNIV via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Acts 10:44-48
  • As this passage begins, Peter is still visiting with centurion Cornelius, and has been explaining how it is that God has brought Jew and Gentile together, coupled with a basic version of the gospel message.
  • There are some clear similarities between this incident and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Does Luke imagine that this kind of experience happens often when believers get together? If not, what occasioned the Spirit's action in these instances where he writes about it?
Psalm 98

1 John 5:1-6
  • Conveying the importance of carrying out God's commandments can be hard with many Presbyterians, as there's the obvious risk of sounding like one is preaching a "works righteousness." Do you think John has in mind any particular commandments when he wrote this down? If so, what?
  • How can John claim that God's commands are not burdensome? How can we tell other Christians this message today in a way that they might actually believe this word?
  • What is John getting at when he spells out that Jesus came not "by water only, but by water and blood"? What is he trying to correct, that he feels people might be leaving "blood" out? What would a "water only" Jesus look like?
John 15:9-17
  • When Jesus connects keeping the Father's commands to remaining in the Father's love, it again sounds a lot like "works righteousness." Is it? If not, how is it not so? How might this be conveyed to a congregation?
  • Jesus talks a lot about love here. How might Jesus define love?
  • Jesus makes a point of calling the disciples friends, and no longer servants. Is this deeper than just what language Jesus uses for the people that, in practically the next breath, he gives instructions to? Can both roles co-exist?

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