Scripture Introductions

Easter 6 May 9, 2010 Scripture Introductions by Stewart Clarke
Vision seems to be common in the readings - even in the Psalm, if you accept the thought of "the Nations" (Gentiles or outsiders) as part of God's Grace. In our first reading, our focus shifts from Peter, responding to a vision, to Paul, prompted by another vision. He is on a missionary journey along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Paul and Luke (physician and companion) are at Troas, on the shore of the Aegean Sea facing Greece, when, in a vision, he is called to Macedonia, north of Greece! (It is about 170 miles "as the crow flies," but Paul and Luke circle north and west to headland, to island, and then to Macedonia. They have moved well into "Gentile" territory, and then begin their ministry by talking with women, even though they made the journey in response to a man's request in Paul's vision!) (BTW, Macedonia was the home of Philip , father of Alexander the Great, who founded Philippi 356, BC/BCE.) Let's listen as the account unfolds, in: Acts 16: 9 - 15 You may want to reserve acclaim until following the Gospel, or use traditional words, or say something like: May we listen and learn when and how to trust our visions. Amen.
The Psalm invites "the Nations" to praise God in response to God's grace. Let's listen to Ps. 67 (VU p. 870-871)
In the book of Revelation, we hear of another vision, this time, of the new age, with a new "Jerusalem," symbolic centre of faith, with no need of Temple because of the Presence of God and of the Lamb, no need of sun or moon because there is no darkness, and no need of gates because of God's peace: God's Shalom. . Let's listen to the vision in Rev. 21: 10, 22- 22: 5 May the vision of God's Shalom inspire us. Amen.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus is replying to a question (from the 'other Judas "). He presents a vision of loving him and of following his teaching, with a promise of Peace and of the Holy Spirit. Let's rise to honour and be open to the Good News for us in: (Or: Let's listen closely for the Good News for us in: ) John 14: 23 - 29 May God inspire and strengthen us to accept Jesus' challenge. Amen. Or In the (alternate) Gospel reading, Jesus is pictured facing a crippled man, who had not ever been helped by one of the healing traditions. Jesus tests the man's intent, and, assured, heals him, then, without taking time to reflect or rejoice, tells him, in effect, to get on with life. Let's rise to honour and be open to the Good News in: John 5: 1 - 9. May we respond simply and practically to God's blessing. Amen. (It is appropriate to follow the readings with thanks and praise.) (Comments to Stew at