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And to him my soul shall live

by davesandel on May 2nd, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 2, 2021             (today’s lectionary)

And to him my soul shall live

All of last week, and especially yesterday, it rained and rained. Puddles formed everywhere we tried to walk. Gutters overflowed onto our patio, hour after hour.

Barnabas took charge of Saul and brought him to the apostles.

Remember the earlier, more famous use of those words?

And the soldiers took charge of Jesus.

No one walked around our apartment complex in the rain. Always there are walkers, with their dogs or alone, but not in this deep, endless rain. The puddles get bigger. We all waited for a break, waited for the sun.

Don’t you remember? The soldiers wrecked Jesus. They crowned him with thorns and whipped his back into shreds, and they nailed him to his cross after making him carry it through the streets to Calvary. He died on that cross, died quickly, with vinegar and forgiveness in his throat.

But Saul moved about freely with the disciples in Jerusalem, and he spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.  The Hellenists tried to kill him, but the brothers rescued him and took him away to Caesarea and then to his hometown, to Tarsus.

Don’t you remember the word picture Matthew painted of Jesus’ crucifixion afternoon? I have a feeling Saul was standing there in person. The clouds darkened, the sky was thick and black and heavy. At the instant of Jesus’ death, lightning collapsed the cloud, and hail and rain crashed down onto the earth. The sky that God created, that God made before he made man, his sky came to raging life. Flashes of electric anger. Throbbing, righteous, thunder. God will not be mocked.

But now? Just this little while since the soldiers took charge of Jesus?

The church, throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up. With the consolation of the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers.

We praise you, O Lord, in the assembly of your people. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.

The lectionary scriptures have lately been so bleak, but not now, not today. The rain pours down, and like your word O Father, it does not return to you empty. It will accomplish what you please it to accomplish.

Remain in me as I remain in you, and you will bear much fruit. I am the true vine and my Father is the farmer.

In Austin, I suppose your stirred-up storms soon will cease. But for now, streams of rain pour down off our roofs and we listen, waiting, wanting sleep. The thunderstorm has passed. All that’s left now is the collapsing cloud. And I think, of course, of Jesus.

And to him my soul shall live.

(Acts 9, Psalm 22, 1 John 3, John 15)

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