Seventh Sunday of Pascha
2 June 2019
Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the Seventh Sunday of Pascha - Year C - 2 June 2019
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.
* Acts 16: 16-34
One day, as we were on our way with Paul to a prayer gathering, we ran into a girl who worked as a clairvoyant. She was a slave: her whole life was controlled by the spirit that enabled her to predict people’s futures, and by the money-men who were making a fortune out of her. She began following us around and yelling out, “These men are puppets of the Most High God; here to sell you another way of salvation.” She kept this up for days and it was beginning to drive Paul nuts. Eventually he spat the dummy. Turning to her, he gave the spirit that controlled her its marching orders: “On the authority of Jesus Christ I order you to get out of her.” And right then and there, she was free of it.
This was not a popular move with the money-men who had been exploiting the girl. All they could see was her market value plummeting and their profits going down the drain. They got pretty heavy-handed with Paul and Silas and dragged them into the town square to face the law. The local magistrates were brought in and the men brought their accusations, saying, “These troublemakers are disturbing the peace. They are Jews from a dangerous religious sect and they are recruiting people to a lifestyle that is undermining the family values and Roman laws that make our city strong.”
That got the crowd fired up, and soon everyone was screaming for blood. The magistrates gave orders to have them publicly beaten. Paul and Silas had the clothing torn from their backs and were viciously bashed with batons. They were then locked up and the prison guard was given orders to do whatever it took to make sure they had no chance of escape. Following his orders, he put them in leg-irons and chained them to the wall in a maximum security cell.
In the middle of the night, much to the surprise of the other prisoners, Paul and Silas were sitting up in their cell, praying and singing hymns to God at the top of their voices. Suddenly, a severe earthquake shook the prison so violently that its walls and floors were giving way. The security doors all burst off their hinges and everyone’s chains were shattered. The prison guard woke up and, seeing all the doors blown open he naturally assumed that all the prisoners had escaped. Knowing how the authorities would take it out on him, he was about to kill himself and beat them to it, when Paul screamed at him, “Stop! You don’t need to top yourself. We are all still here!”
Grabbing a torch, the guard rushed in to look for himself. Seeing Paul and Silas there, he fell to his knees, shaking like a leaf. When he had pulled himself together, he took them outside and asked, “Sirs, help me. How am I going to get out of this mess alive?”
They answered, “Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. And the same goes for all your household.”
The prison guard welcomed them into his own home straight away and washed and dressed their wounds. Paul and Silas shared the Lord’s message with him and with all who lived in his house. The response was so eager that before the night was done, the guard and his entire family were baptised. The night turned into quite a party. Paul and Silas were plied with food as the whole household celebrated their new life as people who trusted in God.
©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net
* Psalm 97
You, LORD, are the ruler of everything!
The whole earth celebrates!
Up and down the coast, everyone is shouting for joy!
Deep, dark clouds of mystery hide you from us;
justice and integrity are the bedrock of your rule.
You are a consuming fire, leaping in all directions,
purging the earth of its enemies.
Your touch splits the darkness with bolts of light;
the earth is lit up and shakes like a leaf.
You are Lord of all the earth, and in your presence
even the mountains go weak and melt like wax.
The heavens herald you as the one who puts things right;
all people everywhere witness your day of glory.
Those who worshipped hollow facades
will hang their heads in shame.
Those who take pride in the power of possessions
will be horrified when it all proves worthless.
All these false gods and short-lived saviours
crumble and fall before you, the real thing.
From the Temple Mountain to the farthest flung town,
your people are celebrating with great joy, O God,
because you have seen the truth and brought about justice.
You, LORD, are number one in all the universe;
in a league of your own,
far above anything else that seeks our allegiance.
You love those who detest evil, LORD;
You stand guard over those who are loyal to you;
You come to their rescue if they fall prey to violence.
When people have integrity and do what is right,
you light up their lives and fill them with joy.
All who build their lives on the bedrock of your truth and justice
are celebrating all you do, LORD.
Just the mention of your holy name
and they burst forth with a flood of gratitude!
©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net
* Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21
I heard the Lord say:
“Look; I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon. When I arrive, I’ll have the prizes with me and I’ll hand them out on the basis of what everyone has done with their lives. I am the whole story, from ‘A’ to ‘Z’. I am the first and the last; the opening night and the grand finale.What other response could we make but “Come on down”?
“How good it will be for those who have scrubbed up well. They will be granted unlimited access to the tree of life, to eat its fruits forever. They will be given priority entry rights at the gates of the city.
“I am Jesus. It was me who sent the angel to you to deliver this message for the churches. I am the roots of the tree of David, and its ultimate fruit. I am the bright star that heralds the morning.”