Wednesday: Reflection on the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Ezra 9:5-15

At the evening sacrifice I got up from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle torn, and fell on my knees, spread out my hands to the Lord my God, and said, “O my God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors to this day we have been deep in guilt, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been handed over to the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as is now the case. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, who has left us a remnant, and given us a stake in his holy place, in order that he may brighten our eyes and grant us a little sustenance in our slavery. For we are slaves; yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to give us new life to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judea and Jerusalem.

“And now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering to possess is a land unclean with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations. They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness. Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this, shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you destroy us without remnant or survivor? O Lord, God of Israel, you are just, but we have escaped as a remnant, as is now the case. Here we are before you in our guilt, though no one can face you because of this.”

Psalm 115

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
 but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
Why should the nations say,
 “Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens;
 he does whatever he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
 the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
 eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
 noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
 feet, but do not walk;
 they make no sound in their throats.
Those who make them are like them;
 so are all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust in the Lord!
 He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
 He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
 He is their help and their shield.

The Lord has been mindful of us;
 he will bless us;
he will bless the house of Israel;
 he will bless the house of Aaron;
he will bless those who fear the Lord,
 both small and great.

May the Lord give you increase,
 both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth.

The heavens are the Lord's heavens,
 but the earth he has given to human beings.
The dead do not praise the Lord,
 nor do any that go down into silence.
But we will bless the Lord
 from this time on and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 16:16-24

[Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper.]

Word of Life mural

“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”

Year B Easter 7 Wednesday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: Word of Life mural by Millard Sheets, 1907-1989, via the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. This image is used under the Creative Commons Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike license.

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