1 May – 6th Sunday of Easter
Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
Then the apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
In the spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.’
Radiant glory of God
Our lives are often filled with highs and lows. Highs being filled with lots of happy times and peaceful moments where we feel blessed and satisfied that everything falls into place. This gives us that peace of mind that we are alright and have little to worry about. The lows where our hearts feel unsettled and filled with fear and anxiety… when we get distracted so easily by the worries that we have in our minds. Where do we place God in all these times? It has been a very rough journey these past two years for me. Yet things have gotten better this year and I’ve experienced the stability God has provided me to inch forward in life, while He has given me the peace at heart. However, I tend to be impatient and because things seem right and steady now, I look forward to something more. Hoping for more. With those desires and ambitions, whatever I have achieved this year (albeit much better than previous years) have become insufficient for myself and I tend to ask for more again.
It truly is a vicious cycle. Thus I tend to constantly remind myself that I have been surrounded by God’s glory in everything I do, everyone I meet. Today’s Gospel reminds us just that. Once again, we are being assured that God continues to shine His light on us. The gates of heaven stand with grandeur holding the people of God together. The apostles on Earth are filled with faith from the Holy Spirit to hold Christians together. Jesus came down to walk with us to hold His people together. We Christians often get asked, why do you believe in God when you continue to have difficulties and worries?
One of my replies would be, because I have tasted the goodness of the Lord and what he has provided for me. Little problems shall pass and the glorified feeling will return as long as I place my faith in Him. The hard issues and times of feeling down will never go away, but God always make it better. And the peace in our hearts will come back to us as promised by our Lord Jesus.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We pray for the unbelievers who struggle to come close to the Lord for whatever personal reasons they may have. We pray for their change of hearts and may they find their way into the family.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for I have tasted the goodness of your Love and Glory.