New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summaries for May 2021 – Year B
Scripture Summary-5th Sunday of Easter - Year B (May 2) by Rev. Shelley McVea
Acts 8:26-40: The Spirit immediately begins to direct the apostles to people who are ready to hear the call of God. Philip quickly goes where the Spirit leads (away from a thriving ministry, and out into the wilderness). An Ethiopian court official is making his way back to his home country through this wilderness. He is pouring over the Hebrew Scripture about “one who is led to the slaughter, a lamb silent before its shearer”. Philip explains the good news of Jesus from this passage, the man believes and is baptized. This is the first African convert that is named in the New Testament.
Psalm 22:25-31: In this section of Psalm 22 David sings of a time when all who seek God will find God. They will remember his deeds and turn to God in worship. Past generations, future generations, all nations are included in this joyous worship. This will happen because God has dominion and brings deliverance to all.
I John 4:7-21: The new kingdom that Jesus initiated with his death and resurrection is to be one that is characterized by love. God is love and that love is revealed to us by Jesus being sent into the world. If we have God’s spirit, we too will live in love. This love casts out any fear that we might have, as fear is linked to punishment. If we say we love God, but hate our brothers and sisters, we are lying. We must abide in God, that God’s love will fill our hearts. We love because he first loved us.
John 15:1-8: In this part of Jesus’ final discourse with his disciples, He tells them that He is the true vine. The vineyard was a common metaphor in Hebrew Scripture for the Israelite nation. Here Jesus hints that all fulfillment of Scripture is in him – the true Israelite. If we are to bear fruit for the kingdom of God we must continue to abide in Him. This will be accomplished when the Holy Spirit is given to all believers. Apart from him, we cannot accomplish any thing lasting for the kingdom.
Scripture Summary-6th Sunday of Easter - Year B (May 9) by Rev. Shelley McVea
Acts 10:44-48: From exclusiveness to inclusiveness. Peter's preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit again produces miraculous God given results. The Holy Spirit is now being poured out on Gentiles, as well as Jews. This is not a new religion, but a transformed life. The new believers are offered the gift of baptism and Peter remains with them to continue teaching them about Jesus.
Psalm 98: This is a song of praise proclaiming the kingdom of God. The psalm begins in song, with the poet inviting us to rejoice in God's victory. As the psalm continues, this joyful noise is sounded further afield. Musical instruments join in and nature itself begins to sing. The floods and hills and seas burst forth in song because God is going to judge the world with righteousness and equity.
I John 5:1-6: St. Once again John's theme is love. We show our love of God by loving the children of God. We can do this because by believing in Jesus we have become children of God. This is not a burdensome task, as God gives us abundant grace to do this. When we become children of God, we have the spirit of God within us, showing us the truth.
John 15:9-17: We continue with Jesus' discourse begun last week, with a picture of what the branches will be producing as a result of their connection with Jesus the vine. This new life will be based on friendship with Jesus, not on being his servants only. The Father's commission to the Son was to love. Our commission from Jesus is to continue in this love. Chosen by God. Friends of Jesus. Appointed to bear fruit. All brought about by love.
Scripture Summary-7th Sunday of Easter–Year B (May 16) by Rev. Shelley McVea
Acts 1:15-17. 21-26: As the disciples wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit they decide to choose an apostle to replace Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose twelve apostles and his followers wanted to retain this number (representing the 12 tribes for Israel). They prayed and asked God for guidance. They then used the method of “casting lots” and Matthais was chosen.
Psalm 1: The 1st Psalm of the Psalter presents us with two ways to live. We can live like the wicked. The accomplishments of our lives will then be like chaff that the wind blows away. There will be no place to stand at the time of judgement. Or we can choose to live a righteous life; meditating on God's law. We will then become like trees that bear fruit.
I John 5:9-13: Throughout the Easter season we have seen how the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has initiated a new way of living. John calls this life “eternal life”. It begins in the present and leads to life after death as well. This life is from the Son and our own spirits bear testimony because God's holy spirit is now living in us as well.
John 17:6-19: Today's passage is from what is known as Jesus' farewell discourse. Jesus knew that he would soon leave the disciples and how this might frighten them. He wants them to know that he has prayed for them. He asked the Father to protect them and to give them joy. They will not be taken out of the world, but will go out into the world without fear if they remember this.
Scripture Summary for Pentecost – Year B (May 23) By Rev. Shelley McVea
Acts 2:1-21: Today is Pentecost and this is the main passage in the New Testament describing how the Spirit came to the disciples. They were told by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly the room where they were sitting was filled with wind and “tongues of fire” and they were filled with new life and began to speak in new languages. People were astonished when they heard the commotion, and heard the disciples speaking in their own tongues. Peter begins to preach with power and 3,000 people were converted on that one day.
Psalm 104: 25-35: Here the Psalmist praises God for caring for the creatures of the earth. By the Spirit God has created them, and by the same benevolent spirit God means their needs for food and good things. This is the God worthy of our praise.
Romans 8: 22-27: In one of the great readings of the New Testament, Paul states that the Spirit is the most intimate of companions, and the most powerful creative force in the world. All of creation groans for redemption; waiting for the coming of God's spirit. We too need this life giving one. The Spirit comes and takes our deepest heart felt needs and desires (some deeper than we can express or even understand) and prays them on our behalf.
John 15:26-27, 16:4B-15: This is part of Jesus' long discourse to the disciples the night before his crucifixion. They are sorrowful as Jesus speaks about death and betrayal. He is reminding them that although he is leaving them, he will send the Holy Spirit to bring to their minds and hearts all that he has shared with them. This Spirit is the Spirit of truth, taking all that Jesus has taught them from the Father, and making it alive in them.
Scripture Summary Trinity Sunday – Year B (May 30) by Rev. Shelley McVea
Isaiah 6:1-8: Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday and in our lectionary readings we are given a glimpse of the splendor of the Triune God. Isaiah encounters the holy one and he is changed. This is what seeing the one whose “glory fills the earth” can do to one. Isaiah is first appalled at his own and his peoples' sin. Yet God in his mercy touches him with holy cleansing fire and removes his sin. Then God asks the crucial question “who will go for us?” and Isaiah gives the only answer he can give. “Here am I: send me”.
Psalm 29: Here, rather than seeing God, we encounter the voice of God. By the mere speaking of a word God changes the world. God's powerful and majestic voice causes nature to shake – bending branches and bringing fire and flood. He also playfully makes lands and constellations skip and frolic. God is so powerful that He contains the chaos of flood by placing his throne right on top of it. The psalmist can only ask one thing of this supreme being - “may the Lord give strength to his people!” May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
Romans 8:12-17: How should we then live? After encountering a God like this, Paul invites us to live by God's spirit. There is no longer a reason to fear. We are no longer slaves; we are free. We are adopted as God's own children. We are the heirs of all God's riches. God's holy spirit teams with our own spirit confirming that this is so. The majestic One we can now call “abba” - “daddy”. If suffering comes we will be able to endure it because we know that God's glory will also be shared with us.
John 3:1-17: In this famous passage the religious leader Nicodemus visits Jesus at night for a chat. He compliments Jesus, but Jesus immediately takes the conversation to a deeper level. As Isaiah experienced a shattering experience of God's holy presence, Jesus here gives Nicodemus a radical vision of what an encounter with God will be like. It will be a new birth. It will change everything. Anything less than this will never allow us to see God's kingdom (verse 3). The coming of Jesus into the world opens up this possibility and shows God's great love for us (verse 16).