Alpha and Omega

The Seventh Sunday in Easter

New Testament Lesson: Acts 16:16-34

[Paul, Timothy, and Luke are together and have been with Lydia, who may be with them in this passage.]

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Psalm 97

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The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
 let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
 righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him,
 and consumes his adversaries on every side.
His lightnings light up the world;
 the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
 before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
 and all the peoples behold his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
 those who make their boast in worthless idols;
 all gods bow down before him.¹

Zion hears and is glad,
 and the towns of Judah rejoice,
 because of your judgments, O God.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
 you are exalted far above all gods.

The Lord loves those who hate evil;
 he guards the lives of his faithful;
 he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous,
 and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
 and give thanks to his holy name!

¹This verse is referred to indirectly in Hebrews 1:5-14, showing that the Son is superior to the angels.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

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Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

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.

The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 17:20-26

[Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper.]

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Year C Easter 7 Sunday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 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.

Image credit: Psalm 97:11 dawn image by Michael Gilbertson (April 28, 2016), text added via Photoshop by Michael Gilbertson

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Monday: Reflection on the Sixth Sunday in Easter

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: 1 Chronicles 12:16-22

Some Benjaminites and Judahites came to the stronghold to David. David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in friendship, to help me, then my heart will be knit to you; but if you have come to betray me to my adversaries, though my hands have done no wrong, then may the God of our ancestors see and give judgment.” Then the spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said,

“We are yours, O David;
 and with you, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
 and peace to the one who helps you!
 For your God is the one who helps you.”

Then David received them, and made them officers of his troops.

Some of the Manassites deserted to David when he came with the Philistines for the battle against Saul. (Yet he did not help them, for the rulers of the Philistines took counsel and sent him away, saying, “He will desert to his master Saul at the cost of our heads.”) As he went to Ziklag these Manassites deserted to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai, chiefs of the thousands in Manasseh. They helped David against the band of raiders, for they were all warriors and commanders in the army. Indeed from day to day people kept coming to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God.

Psalm 93

The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
 the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
 your throne is established from of old;
 you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
 the floods have lifted up their voice;
 the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
 more majestic than the waves of the sea,
 majestic on high is the Lord!

Your decrees are very sure;
 holiness befits your house,
 O Lord, forevermore.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 21:5-14

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Year C Easter 6 Monday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 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.

Image credit: Alpha and Omega Book (Meuble_héraldique_livre.svg: Bluebear2derivative work: Alekjds) via Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

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Readings for New Year's Day and Holy Name of Jesus

Psalm 8 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

New Year’s

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

Revelation 21:1-6a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus says that those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, cloth the naked, care for the sick, and visit prisoners will inherit the kingdom; those who failed in these duties will depart into eternal fire.

Holy Name of Jesus

Numbers 6:22-27 The Priestly Benediction

Philippians 2:5-11 Imitating Christ’s humility

Luke 2:15-21 The Shepherds went to Bethlehem to see Jesus, and told Joseph and Mary all that the angel had told them. On the eighth day, the child was baptized and named Jesus.

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