East6C19. Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2, 22-29. Some of the Jewish converts to Christianity said to the other converts, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” They obviously thought that Jesus was the Messiah or Savior only for the Jews, since they were saying that one must Jewish in order to be Christian. This teaching upset many and disturbed their peace of mind. Paul and Barnabas were among those who did not accept this understanding of Christianity. There was much dissension. To decide this issue, the apostles and presbyters met in Jerusalem. The result was: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage.” The Holy Spirit inspired them to recognize that salvation comes “through the grace of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:11) and not through observance of the Mosaic Law.
John 14:232-29. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” God must be respected and treated as God and not as just another person that we to have knowledge of. As our God, especially as the God who loves us dearly, we owe our submission to his authority over us. Jesus, who soon no longer was to be physically present, promises to send the God the Holy Spirit to continue the task of bringing salvation to whole world. Jesus then says, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you.” And then, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” His divine loving presence is always with us. We need to draw a strength from his presence that will always keep us peaceful, free of fear. Romans 8:31b reads: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:37 reads: “No, in all things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” Peace and joy are a sure sign that we are living in Christ.
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23. “The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” This coming week we will celebrate the ascension of Jesus into heaven, as the Lamb of God. This reading prepares us to envision him gloriously there. “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.” Our faith is in the person of God. All the physical things that exist in this world as a part of our faith, the Scriptures, church documents, church buildings, the Church governed from Rome will disappear when Jesus comes the second time because all physical things will disappear. Their purpose was to help us live our lives out of the presence of God himself who becomes and is our life.