Showing posts from May, 2020

Pentecost 2020

Numbers 11:24-30; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Acts 2:1-21; John 20:19-23
It is a good rule that if we want to understand the Bible, we should look to understand the context- We should ask how people living at that time would understand what was happening.

To begin, it’s important for us to understand that the disciples were in Jerusalem, and that there was a festival happening. Pentecost was actually a Jewish festival. It was the second of three harvest festivals. It is also sometimes called the Feast of Weeks because it took place seven weeks (or 50 days) after the Passover (Pentekostos means ‘fiftieth’). It was also a time to observe the anniversary of the giving of the Law and the establishment of the covenant at Mount Sinai, which was believed to have happened 50 days after the Exodus from Egypt.

People would gather at the Temple to celebrate and make offerings. Jerusalem would have been filled with people from all over, since the temple was the only place you were allowe…

Acts 17- To an Unknown God

Acts 17:22-31
Our reading from Acts today has some interesting lessons about sharing what we believe.

The first lesson has to do with knowing who you are talking to. The message has to be something the listeners can relate to. You don’t talk to a child the way you talk to an adult. You don’t talk to a Buddhist in the same way that you might speak to Muslim, or an atheist.

So who is Paul talking to here?

Paul has arrived in Athens. This is a city known for its philosophy. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were sons of the great city of Athens. It was a major center of culture, art, and religion. … As a modern equivalent, you might imagine a place like Oxford or Cambridge.

There were a couple of important philosophies floating around Athens at this time. The Epicureans believed that the gods didn’t have much to do with humanity. The gods gave no more thought to human beings than human beings give to ants. The universe was governed more by chance, than any sort of divine plan. They didn’t …

Acts 7- Stephen the Martyr

Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14
There is a great unity in our readings today.

In Acts we see the church after the resurrection of Jesus. They were marked by the resurrection power of Jesus. They were full the assurance of everlasting life as they followed their master. The followers of Jesus were fearlessly teaching, and their teaching was marked by healings and miracles, which confirmed them as having God’s stamp of approval.

Last week we read about how the members of the church were willing to sacrifice their goods to help those they cared about. They took care of those who were in need among them. At one point some of the Greek speaking widows were beings overlooked. So, the Apostles chose seven men who were full of the Spirit and wisdom to make sure that the needs of the Greek-speaking widows were met. This is where we get the order of deacons. In our reading today we meet Stephen, who was chosen as one of the seven.

Jesus said, 
“'Servants are no…

Acts 2- The Fellowship of Believers

Acts 2:42-47
In our Gospel reading Jesus says he came to give us abundant life. Assuming the early disciples were living the way of the abundant life Jesus was talking about
What we read about in Acts is a group of people who are caught up in God’s mission of love. After the resurrection, the power of God was still present in the disciples. … We read in Acts about what that community was like- 
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). These are essential aspects of the early church, and they are also essential for the modern church.

First, when these early believers gathered they dedicated themselves to the teaching of the Apostles. “The Apostles” are understood to be those who spent time with Jesus while he was teaching before his crucifixion and resurrection. The Apostles were the ones who wandered the roads with Jesus as he went from town to town teaching and healing. They were the ones that were with hi…