Each year the Gospel reading for the Seventh Sunday of Easter is taken from Jesus’ great prayer in John 17, the conclusion of his farewell discourse. Jesus invites us into what Raymond Brown describes as a "heavenly family conversation" between himself and God.
This prayer, like Jesus’ other prayers (John 11:41-42 and 12:27-28), is meant to be overheard by us.
I've been doing a lot of spiritual wrestling of late. A few months into a new position, I feel like I should be "doing" more, helping the church take bold, new steps, that sort of thing. But I don't have much clarity about what steps to take or in what direction.
The reading from 1 Peter seems oddly disconnected from recent lectionary themes. What are we to make of this language of fiery ordeals and roaring lions during Easter season? It conjures up images of Joan of Arc, John Hus and others who met their ends in the cruel and literal flames of persecution.
One of the buzz phrases in the United Methodist Church appointment process these days is “seasons of ministry.” As our bishops and cabinets try to encourage longer-term ministry appointments, this phrase helps us expand our imaginations. For too long in our tradition, clergy lived year to year, and so did congregations.