Contemporary Scripture Reflections for Spiritual Seekers
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, BCC, PCC
May 22nd, 2022
Pray that
sanity will prevail and that all those suffering on account of the terrible conflict in Ukraine will find the comfort and resources they need.  

Excerpt from
Jesus the Holy Fool
EAS, 1999
Laughter, then, is an appropriate response to the event of Resurrection. "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your believing is useless," writes Paul (1 Cor 15:14). Precisely because Jesus rose from the dead, the Christian story cannot be viewed as a tragedy but as a comedy of "restoration" in which all who suffer death and humiliation are vindicated. Because Christ himself suffered every indignity, every grief, every outrage -- and has triumphed-- so, too, we will overcome all that afflicts us. Laughter brings relief; betrayal, bitter disappointment, torture and death are not the final realities after all. The worst that could happen has happened as well.

Through Jesus' self-offering, we have also been made aware of how intricately and intimately God is immersed in the circumstances of our lives, suffering with us, grieving for us, holding nothing back in terms of love, forgiveness and mercy... Never again do we have to fear being abandoned; never again do we have to dread being alone in our anguish. God is a faithful God, a motherly God, a compassionate God. And so we, too, can find release in holy laughter.

This laughter, this awareness, this vindication --all usher in the new age, the age of the Holy Spirit. Because of what happened to Jesus and through Jesus, the world's stage is set for comic action, that is, for the mending of the broken circle, for the healing of fragmented society. And the agents of this transformation of consciousness are the same followers of Jesus who abandoned him, denied him, lost hope, and hid. By extension, we, in all our frailty and poverty, follow in their footsteps. In this new age, therefore, the reign of God will be ushered in by the spiritually poor and the socially marginalized, and in this, too, there is cause for rejoicing, amazement and laughter, God, in God's Foolishness, chooses the weak and powerless of this world to accomplish great and wonderful works. God's work, it seems, can be done through the cooperation of anyone upon whom the Holy Spirit chooses to rest.


  • What lines from today's readings resonate with you the most and why?

  • What do you understand by "The Second Coming"?

  • What do you think happened at the Ascension?

  • To what extent are you aware of the Holy Spirit guiding you in your thoughts, actions and decisions?


If you belong to a ministry team (pastoral team, retreat team, liturgical team, chaplaincy team, administrative team, environmental team, etc.) I would welcome your feedback regarding a Ministry Team Assessment Tool I have developed. If this interests you, please click on my newly updated website, and click on the MINISTRY TEAM ASSESSMENT QUIZ. Thanks for considering this!

Greetings, SBT Readers!

I saw no temple in the city
for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.
The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gave it light,
and its lamp was the Lamb. Rev. 21:22-23

Twelve gates... Twelve angels... Twelve tribes of Israel... Twelve apostles of the Lamb... It is interesting that the author of The Book of Revelation sees no temple in the Holy City; rather, the city is illumined by Christ-Light and therefore requires neither sun, nor moon, nor street lights, nor torches, nor lanterns, nor anything else that shines in the dark. In the City of God -- unlike earthly cities, the source of Light is God. Sadly, here in the United States, our cities have become killing fields with mass shootings and hate crimes on the rise. What would happen, I wonder, if each of us manifested the Light within? How would our cities shine if instead of cowering in fear or threatening our representatives, we reached out in love to the marginalized and oppressed? What would change if we remembered that each of us is a spark of the Divine Light and that this Light is more powerful than darkness? How can we become the change our suffering world needs so desperately?

Eastertide Blessings!


Jesus said to his disciples:
“Those who love me will keep my word,
and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them and make our dwelling with them.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am still with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I taught you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”

There is so much to reflect on in today's Gospel and each key concept deserves a contemplative pause. Unlike narrative Gospels which invite us into Mystery via story, John 14 does not provide us with a cast of characters, a physical setting or some noteworthy event such as a healing miracle. Instead, the text invites us into our "heart space" to engage in the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, or contemplative reading. My approach, then, will be to focus on key verses and to unpack them as best as I can.

“Those who love me will keep my word,
and my Father will love them,
and we will come to them and make our dwelling with them."
What does it mean to keep Christ's word? A first response might be to assume that Jesus is referring to the Commandments; however, I believe that "my word" goes beyond this. In John 1:1-5, the Word is Jesus himself. To "keep his word," then, could be interpreted as cherishing the Word, accepting the Word, and following the Word that is Christ. It is not so much about being virtuous but about being faithful, despite our imperfections; it's about staying in relationship with the Holy One who, in turn, will dwell within us. What an amazing concept! Despite our imperfect humanity, God chooses our hearts as temples, tabernacles and sanctuaries -- and all because of our love and our attempts (successful or not) to follow The Way.

"The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I taught you."
Remembering important information can be a challenge, especially when we are overwhelmed, grief-stricken, or filled with fear. Though Jesus' disciples have no way of knowing what lies ahead, the Last Supper discourses could be described as a "living legacy statement." From Jn 14-17, Jesus' focuses on preparing his disciples for his departure so that they will not be left "orphans" or forget his teachings. They have nothing to fear as the Holy Spirit will continue to guide them, reminding them of all Jesus taught them through his words, actions and example. This gift of the Holy Spirit, however, has no expiration date. Everything that Jesus promises his disciples at the Last Supper, is our legacy as well. We, too, receive guidance and consolation when we need it -- it is there for the asking!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you."
"Peace" as defined by the world, is the absence of war. It can be purchased by appeasement as in the case of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's "Peace for our Time" agreement with Hitler; in effect, the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, supposedly signed to protect Britain, emboldened Hitler to invade Czechoslovakia the very next day. Or it can be based on a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), the current deterrent to nuclear annihilation. Or it can involve avoiding direct confrontation with an "enemy nation" by providing armaments to a third nation which will bear the brunt of casualties and destruction. No doubt there are other models of "the world's peace" but they are unlikely to coincide with Jesus' definition of peace. For Jesus, peace is not the absence of war but the presence of God; it is not a guarantee of physical safety but the promise that no matter how many arrows fly by day or terrors strike at night, God will still be our refuge and our strength" (Ps.91). Even when plagues and pestilence roam in the darkness, we can still "remain" in Christ and He in us.

"I am going away and I will come back to you."
This Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension, that day when we celebrate Jesus being "lifted up" from the earthly realm. Neither Matthew nor John records this event, but in both Mark and Luke, as well as in Acts 1:1-11, the Ascension of Jesus is a joyous occasion marked by prayer and thanksgiving as the disciples wait for the coming of the Spirit. The Gospel of Matthew ends with Jesus commissioning his disciples to "make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:16-20) while John's Gospel ends with the commissioning of Peter (Jn 21:15-19). Jesus's departure, then, coincides with the commissioning and empowerment of his followers and with their understanding that He will be with them always. As pilgrims of the C21st, we are still waiting for Jesus' return, but the power of God rests upon us in our waiting just as it did upon the disciples. Like them, we walk by faith; and like them, we are commissioned to share the Good News.

Try my Spiritual Self-Assessment Tool! After you take the Quiz, you will automatically receive a computer-generated analysis of your strengths and "growing edges."

Please note that I offer Writing Coaching/ Editing, in addition to Life Coaching, Spiritual Direction, and Retreats.
Wednesdays, July 6th-August 10th, 2022; 6:00-7:30 p.m. EST
This video explains my approach to this ministry, while my website provides further details as well. During COVID-19, sessions are by phone or on Zoom; I am also available to facilitate "virtual" retreats for groups and individuals.
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart | |

C. All Photos by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart,