Weekly worship: Sunday 2 June
The source of our action and being in the world.
This is a passage that speaks of the Almighty power of God challenging the powers at work in the world.
We first meet the power of financial gain that is keeping a young girl enslaved in exploitation.
We then witness the power of God working through Paul’s command to the spirit to leave the girl, a command given out of frustration. It is perhaps encouraging for us to see God’s power can work through people even when they are frustrated and angry.
We then meet the power of mob and legal rule that works to suppress the message of another way that Paul and Silas were bringing. Walter Brueggemann writes that their ‘new way of well-being exposes all their old ways as failed frauds.’
We witness the power of resistance as Paul and Silas sing and pray to God while in prison. Singing has long been used in protest and non-violent resistance through historical and present struggle against injustice. More power is demonstrated through the earthquake and then finally the powerful conversion of the jailer and his household, choosing to follow the new way of liberation and life that Paul and Silas embodied.
May we find inspiration from Paul and Silas’s resistance as we choose to speak truth to power through the mass lobby of Parliament on 26 June, and in all the other areas and arenas of our lives where we encounter resistance for embodying and modelling another way for the world.
In some ways it seems unusual to read these final, prayerful words of Jesus on this seventh Sunday of Easter. And yet it is an instinctual thing to revisit the final words of those we love before they are taken from us.
Here we return to Jesus’ call to unity and oneness as an expression of God’s love in the world. In an age which is so divisive, on social media, in political debate, and often within the church, these final words of Jesus are less an instruction than a prayerful inspiration to live a counter-cultural existence.
This may not mean being of one mind on all matters, but being one in our receiving and dwelling in the love of God and subsequent love for one another. May this love of God described by Jesus in his most intimate prayer be the source of all our action and being in the world.
'The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.’ Revelation 22:17
We long to hear your words of invitation:
‘Let everyone who is thirsty and guilty, come
Let everyone who is hungry and hurting, come>
Let everyone who is scarred and scared, come
Let everyone who is lost and lonely, come
Let everyone who is poor and rich, come
Let everything that has breath, come
Come and drink from the deep wells of grace
and go overflowing with the generosity known.
So that all may come to know life in fullness
here and now.’
In your life-giving name we pray.
Let it be so.
Points for prayer
This is Volunteer Week: give thanks for all those who volunteer their time and energy to make such a positive contribution to society, our Churches and to Christian Aid.
Pray for the flourishing of all of creation, a halt to the extinction of species and an immediate and effective response to the climate emergency as we prepare for World Environment Day on 5 June.
Pray the mass lobby on 26 June will be well attended, sending a clear message to politicians that the Time is Now to care for creation.