O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding. Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Response: Psalm 67 was led by David Maitland. *(verse 1) “May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us.”
The First Reading Acts 16:9-15 was read by Arthur Clark. On Paul’s way to Macedonia to tell the Good News to the people there, he stopped in Philippi for a few days. On the Sabbath he sat with a group of women who were in prayer and he met Lydia, a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to Paul’s words and she and her family were baptized.
The Second Reading was read by John Greve from Revelation 21:10; 21:22---22:5. In John’s vision he saw the city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. He saw that there was no darkness and no need for lamps or sun to provide light. God will be their light and will reign forever and ever. He fell down at the angel’s feet, but the angel told him to rise for he was a fellow servant and one should only worship God.
Reverend Riggins read the Gospel of John 14:23-29. Jesus is talking to his disciples and teaching them before he goes to his Father. He wants them to understand what is about to happen when he ascends to heaven and reassures them of the guidance they will receive from the Holy Spirit when he is gone. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Jesus doesn’t want them to be troubled or afraid. He wants them to be happy for him to go to God the Father. He also wants them to feel peace in their lives knowing that he is always with them in spirit, and some day they will join him in heaven.
Reverend Riggins talked about how everyone wants world peace. We also seem to search for peace in our daily lives. In the Gospel today some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples were concerned with having peace of mind and heart. He wants us to have peace in the present day by feeling the presence of God and the Holy Spirit. God walks along the side of us as our shepherd to guide us. That peace, his holy presence, will never be taken away. It is a gift from God. We can feel it when we rest in God’s arms. Reverend Riggins tells us that we are all connected in God’s beauty and nature. No matter whom we are or where we are, we can have his presence in our lives. There is no guarantee that there will never be problems or heart aches, but he gives us comfort as we go through them. It is his abiding presence that makes it bearable. He never leaves us alone. It is the peace that he gives us that conquers our fears, just as Christ conquered death and has given us forgiveness.
Reverend Riggins challenges us to find a place in our lives to let God give us peace. Breathe in the presence of God and know that you are not alone. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
Wednesday, May 8, there will be Bible Study in the parish hall at 6 p.m. There will be a light supper. Next Sunday will be Mother’s Day and we will have Reverend Gina Frnka as our pastor. Services will be at 9 a.m. and fellowship follows. We continue our prayers for Reverend Lloyd Johnson as he fights his illness. We also pray for our members and others who are ill that God will grant them wellness.