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Faith Formation for ALL ages

May 8, 2022

“We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention.” - Frederick Buechner

Lectionary for 4th Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:36-43 / Psalm 23 / Revelation 7:9-17 / John 10:22-30


Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.  At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.  Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 

So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 

Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.  He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.  Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Acts 9:36-43, NRSV

Tabitha was a woman from Joppa known for befriending and helping the poor. God raised her from the dead through the Apostle Peter. Very little is known about her life, which makes it easy to pass right by her.

Her story reminds us that the kin-dom of God is primarily made up of people like Tabitha, “individuals who passionately serve others yet only want people to see Jesus, individuals who spend their lives for someone bigger than themselves.


The Gift of Uncertainty  from Sojourners

This week's readings are at once a historical glimpse of the continued formation of the early Christian community and encouragement and reassurance in a time of transition and uncertainty. Peter's transformation, which began with Jesus' resurrection, continues, and it symbolizes the transformation of the entire early Christian community. Here, his prayer and faith bring new life to Tabitha, such that "many came to believe in the Lord" (Acts 9:42). Peter's faith and the work of the Holy Spirit give him and all the disciples the "authority" to continue Jesus' work—no small feat, considering that they are without Jesus' leadership and under increasing pressure from the state and Jewish community.

Considering these circumstances, the Psalms and Revelation passages reinforce the need for a steadfast faith, one that is not kept hidden, but lived—even and especially through the darkest valleys. If only we have the courage to trust, we are assured that our God will faithfully lead us to "springs of life-giving waters" and "wipe away every tear" (Revelation 7:17). It is only when we are uncertain, and therefore must rely on faith, that the Spirit can act at all. We must live our lives in ways that allow God to move, create, and act, and to guide us on right paths. We, like the disciples, must act with courage, and trust that the Spirit will fill in the blanks.

John, too, warns us against the temptation to seek absolute proof before we live our faith. Like those who demanded that Jesus "tell us plainly" (John 10:24) if he is the Messiah, we may find ourselves paralyzed with fear and uncertainty, waiting for the definitive sign of our discipleship before we act. John, however, assures us we are already known, called, and chosen by God. If Jesus' words and life are truly good news for us, all we need—like the disciples—is the courage to act, trusting that the Spirit will do the rest.

Michaela Bruzzese 

With My Own Two Hands (Ben Harper)  | Playing For Change

With My Own Two Hands

The Lost Sheep

The Good Shepherd

God, my shepherd!

    I don’t need a thing.

You have bedded me down in lush meadows,

    you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word,

    you let me catch my breath

    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through

    Death Valley,

I’m not afraid

    when you walk at my side.

Your trusty shepherd’s crook

    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner

    right in front of my enemies.

You revive my drooping head;

    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me

    every day of my life.

I’m back home in the house of God

    for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23, The Message

The Adventurous Lectionary from Patheos
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