May 24,2020 The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Cycle A)
The tie in between today’s readings: Infinite Intimacy
Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, Christian, you have an enemy. Actually, you have three: the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3). Through Christ, you escaped the Kingdom of Darkness and have gone over to the LIGHT side. You are hated for it. These adversaries will do everything in their power to make your witness for the Savior ineffective and destroy you if possible. The world will force you into compromise and silence so that you cannot infect others with the gospel’s good news. The flesh will tempt you into sin and make your testimony for the Kingdom of God hypocritically laughable. Satan wants to get at you, to sift you like wheat, perhaps even bring you to martyrdom. What’s a believer to do? Well…you do have God Almighty on your side.
Our reading in Psalm 27 begins with the line: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?” The Psalm continues three more verses imagining various dangerous scenarios. He answers each situation with undeterred confidence. The Lord, Himself, will hide and protect him to the praise and glory of His great name. He looks forward to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever because the God of the universe, his Father, also knows his name.
Acts 1:12-14 gives the roll call of the Church just after our Lord’s Ascension into heaven. Everyone is named, illustrating the Lord’s intimate acquaintance with them. They are His! Our reading in John 17:1-11 reinforces this idea as Jesus, in His High Priestly Prayer, states that the Father had taken them out of the world and given them to Him. They have sat at the feet of the Master and, even at this late date, still have much more to learn. But there’s one thing they do believe: Jesus and the Father are one and, in Jesus, they are one with the Father. They, in a sense, have come to know the one true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. In that knowledge, they have intimacy with God, and in that intimacy, they have eternal life. Jesus finishes with a petition for unity in His Church. Even though they are no longer of the world, they are still living in the world. There are big challenges ahead for them and for those of us who follow in their footsteps.
Our epistle in 1 Peter 4:13-16 starts right into the inevitability of suffering for Christ, which brings us back around to our aforementioned enemies. The Apostle makes his distinctions between the kinds of sufferings a Christian may encounter. In verse fifteen, he warns against the sins of the flesh and our fallen nature. God has not rescinded the law of reaping and sowing. The sinner will face consequences for his actions, and it is even more shameful for the person who claims the name of Jesus. If this is your situation, don’t lose heart. God will restore you. Repent, confess, and be reunited in fellowship with the Lord and His Church. For the others, those blessed of the Father who suffer at the hands of the world and the Devil for Christ’s sake, he encourages them to rejoice and give glory to God. The Holy Spirit of glory rests on them.
God calls us out of this world of darkness and into His kingdom of light through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have not already, make this the day that you get serious with the Lord. Forsake your sin. Seek forgiveness through the blood of Christ. He will never turn you away. Pursue God like a lover and in that intimacy find eternal life. Don’t fear the trials that will come. Greater will be He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4-6). Through Christ who loves us, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Amen!