“Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled….”   1 comment

Above:  Jesus, the Bread of Life

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Acts 13:26-33 (Revised English Bible):

[Paul continued,]

My brothers, who came of Abraham’s stock, and others among you who worship God, we are the people to whom this message of salvation has been sent.  The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, or understand the words of the prophets which are read sabbath by sabbath; indeed, they fulfilled them by condemning him.  Though they failed to find grounds for the sentence of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed.  When they had carried out all that the scriptures said about him, they took him down from the gibbet and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead; and over a period of many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, and they are now his witnesses before our people.

We are here to give you the good news that God, who made the promise to the fathers, has fulfilled it for the children by raising Jesus from the dead, as indeed it stands written in the second Psalm:  ‘You are my son, this day I have begotten you.’

Psalm 2 (Revised English Bible):

Why are the nations in turmoil?

Why do the peoples hatch their futile plots?

Kings of the earth stand ready,

and princes conspire together

against the LORD and his anointed king.

Let us break their fetters,

they cry,

let us throw off their chains!

He who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs,

the Lord derides them;

then angrily he rebukes them,

threatening them in his wrath.

I myself have enthroned my king,

he says,

on Zion, my holy mountain.

I shall announce the decree of the LORD:

You are my son,

he said to me;

this day I have become your father,

Ask of me what you will:

I shall give you nations as your domain,

the earth to its farthest ends as your possession.

You will break them with a rod of iron,

shatter them like an earthen pot.

Be mindful, then, you kings;

take warning, you earthly rulers:

worship the LORD with reverence;

tremble, and pay glad homage to the king,

for fear the LORD may become angry

and you may be struck down in mid-course;

for his anger flares up in a moment.

Happy are all who find refuge in him!

John 14:1-6 (Anchor Bible):

[On the evening the Last Supper Jesus spoke to this apostles, saying,]

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith, then, in me.  There are many dwelling places in my father’s house; otherwise I would have warned you.  I am going off to prepare a place for you; and when I do go and prepare a place for you I am coming back to take you along with me, so that where I am, you may also be.  And you know the way to where I am going.

Thomas said,

Lord, we don’t know where you are going.  So how can we know the way?

Jesus told him,

I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to Father except through me.

The Collect:

Hear our prayers, O Lord, and, as we confess that Christ, the Savior of the world, lives with you in glory, grant that, as he himself has promised, we may perceive him present among us also, to the end of the ages; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Authorized Version of the Bible translates “dwelling places” from John 14:2 as “mansions.”  This is a poor translation, for, depending on the scholar one consults, the reference in Greek can have three possible meanings:

1.  There are “many rooms” (as the New International Version renders the text).  The location of one’s room in the afterlife depends on one’s life:  good for good and evil for evil.  Some Jewish literature of the time contained this idea.

2.  There is a series of roadside rooms where a traveler sleeps overnight before rising the next morning and going on his or her way.  So there are stages of one’s spiritual journey, even in Heaven.

3.  There are many rooms in God’s house, with plenty of room for everybody.

I like #2.  But who knows, really?  The main idea we should remember that Jesus is central to this afterlife.

Let us remember, too, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  Given the literary context within the Johannine Gospel, Jesus had many reasons to be troubled.  And yet he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  And Paul the Apostle endured his share of difficulties after become a Christian and evangelist.  Yet the epistles he wrote and dictated reflect a deep and abiding faith, great determination, and moments of frustration and pique, but not a greatly troubled heart.

I was a student at Valdosta State University and a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia, from 1993 to 1996.  One day I attended the funeral for Deacon Stella Clark’s son.  I arrived at the church just before the funeral, for I chose not to skip a class meeting.  The church was full, so I had to sit in the Parish Hall and listen to the service on a speaker.  I recall Stella reading the Gospel, which began “Do not let your hearts be troubled…,” her voice breaking.  That was great faith indeed.  During that service she administered communion, the bread of life, to me.

Life contains the good and the bad, the joyous and the excruciating, and all degrees in the middle.  Through it all we are not alone, no matter how much we feel that way.  Experience has taught me that grace is most noticeable when the need for it is greatest.  So I carry meaningful memories related to traumatic times.  I rejoice in the great joy during those troubled times and thank God for the spiritual growth which has flowed from them, but take no delight in those times themselves.  And I have learned more deeply the truth of “Do not let your hearts be troubled….”  This is a lesson one can learn only by living.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 6, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ALBRECHT DURER, MATTHIAS GRUNEWALD, AND LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER, ARTISTS

THE FEAST OF DANIEL G. C. WU, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO CHINESE AMERICANS

THE FEAST OF FREDERIC BARKER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF SYDNEY

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Adapted from this post:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-seventh-day-of-easter/

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One response to ““Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled….”

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  1. Pingback: Twenty-Seventh Day of Easter « LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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