Easter 6 (May 13, 2012)
Common Lectionary Readings:
I John 5:1-6; Acts 10:44-48; Ps. 98; John 15:9-17

We returned from MCC Europe-Middle East meetings in Cyprus, May 9, and are preparing for travel to the U.S. and Canada, May 14-June 30. It will be Daryl’s first chance to hold granddaughter Sydney, who is now six months old! We are also excited to attend our son Jeremy’s graduation from Bucknell University and his wedding to Lyndsay Adams, June 9. We look forward to some great family times together.

Sydney Byler at six months

This trip also has a full itinerary of speaking engagements. We begin by meeting with MCC-sponsored Middle East participants at EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Then we travel to MCC advocacy offices in Ottawa, New York and Washington, D.C. to talk with policymakers about Middle East issues. We are also scheduled to speak in churches and at other settings in Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C.; and in several cities in Alberta. We will appreciate prayers for stamina and the ability to communicate clearly.

This week in the region:

U.N. convoy in southern Syria (AFP photo)

  • In Palestine, some 2,000 prisoners have entered the fourth week of a hunger strike, protesting Israeli prison conditions and the Israeli practice of detention without charge or trial. Several prisoners have fasted for more than 70 days now.

The Common Lectionary readings this week are about win-win victories.

In the Epistle reading, John describes the scope of this victory: It conquers the world (I John 5:5). But this is not a victory that results in global domination or makes us superior to others. Rather, it is a victory rooted in faith that calls us to follow the pattern of Jesus – loving God and loving others (vv. 1-3).

In the Gospel reading, Jesus calls his followers to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) He defines love like this: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (v.13)

Luke recounts the story of Peter baptizing former enemies – Gentiles – after they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-48).

The psalmist proclaims that God is the one who gains the victory on our behalf. (Ps. 98:1-4)

The world imagines victory as a way of establishing our rights over others and ourselves as superior to others. There are winners and losers.

In God’s politics, victory is rooted in faith that calls us to follow Jesus. It means being part of a community that is willing to lay down life for the other. It even results in transforming enemies into friends. That is truly a win-win reality.

With colleagues in Ayia Napa, Cyprus (left to right: Suzi, Daryl, Trish, Cindy, Deb and Jim)

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