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Apr 22

5th Sunday of Easter (Year C)

heartActs 11:1-18
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • We don’t like it when other believers don’t look like us (or sound like us, or eat like us, or sing like us, or pray like us…). But, here’s the thing: God doesn’t make any distinctions between us, and we are supposed to treat one another as God treats us. It wasn’t an easy lesson for Peter or the other apostles, and it isn’t easy for us – but it is a lesson that we must learn.
  • We are not the ones who get to decide who/what is “clean” or “unclean”. Only God makes that call. The heavenly declaration of “What God has made clean, you must not call profane” should haunt us. How often do we behave as though we know who is “in” and who is “out”? God’s love and grace is so much bigger than we can imagine. It is time for us to stop building walls around the Lord and the gift of grace. God makes the final call — it is our job to simply reach out in the same love that God has shown to us.
  • This is a great Sunday to celebrate and give thanks for your church and community’s ecumenical (and, perhaps, interfaith) relationships.
  • The mention of the Spirit in this text can remind us that the Day of Pentecost is just a few weeks away.  Start advertising your Pentecost services now. If you want the congregation to wear red on Pentecost Sunday (or bring red flowers to plant around your church building, or collect red-colored non-perishable food items, etc), be sure to start advertising that now.
Psalm 148
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • There is something about this Psalm that reminds me of the book Goodnight Moon
  • Have you ever heard of Mad Libs? You could re-create this Psalm Mad Libs style! Invite the congregation (or, just the kids – but adults will enjoy this, too) to suggest nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives to fill in the blanks and re-create the Psalm in a new, unique way.
  • Invite kids to illustrate this passage during the service. Display their artwork in the sanctuary. Or, put the artwork together to create a one-of-a-kind book for the church library!
Revelation 21:1-6
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • It is amazing, really, that God choses to dwell with us. What are we doing to make God feel welcome among us?
  • What have you seen/experienced God “making new”? How do we work with God in that re-creative process?
John 13:31-35
  • Common English Bible and NRSV
  • Those who use the Revised Common Lectionary know that this message of “love your neighbor” seems to repeat again and again.  Perhaps that is because it is a message that we need to hear again and again.
  • How do we love one another? How do we show love to strangers – and even our enemies?
  • Do people know – by our actions alone – that we follow Christ Jesus? Do the things that we post online demonstrate that we are Christians?
  • This is another great opportunity to talk about bullying and cyber-bullying. How can your congregation promote healthy and safe relationships that demonstrate love and grace?

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