Third Sunday of Easter (April 14, 2013)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
This week we enjoyed meeting with Larry Miller, former General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, who now serves in a similar role with the Global Christian Forum. GCF staff gathered in Amman to discuss regional connections with Middle Eastern Christian bodies.
For the first time, we also met our colleague Suzi Khory’s niece and nephew, Jessica and Elias, when they visited the MCC Jordan office on Thursday afternoon.
We are rapidly coming to the end of our time in Jordan – with just two months now until we complete our service with MCC and return to the United States. We feel a mixture of excitement and sadness.
On Wednesday, we shared a delightful evening with Willy Stell, SALT volunteer at MCC Global Family partner Holy Land Institute. We have been blessed with wonderful SALT volunteers during our six years in Jordan.
In the region this week:
- In a meeting with William Swing, director general of the International Organization of Migration, Interior Minister Hussein Majali announced that Jordan will keep open its shared borders with Syria, despite a refugee influx that has surpassed some 2,000 persons per day.
- Bombings killed at least 11 worshipers at mosques in Baghdad and Diyala, as violence targeting both Shia and Sunni Muslims continues.
The Common Lectionary readings for this third Sunday of Easter focus on seeing through new eyes.
In the reading from Acts, the religious zealot Saul makes a dramatic shift from persecuting the followers of Jesus (Acts 9:1-5) to proclaiming that Jesus “is the Son of God.” (v.20) Temporarily blinded by a light from heaven while traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians, “something like “scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored” when Ananias, a church leader in Damascus, told Saul that God had a different mission for him (v.18).
The psalmist reflects on his journey from a place of favor, prosperity and strength (Ps. 32:6-7a); to a place of mourning, dismay and weeping (vv. 2, 5, 7, 9, 11); and back to a place of wholeness, joy and dancing (vv. 2, 3, 5, 11). It is only by going through a time of hardship that the psalmist is clearly able to see God’s restoring work in his life.
In the reading from Revelation, the angels and every creature on earth finally recognize that the lamb who was slaughtered – the one who appeared to be weak and vulnerable – is the only one who is worthy “to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Rev. 5:12-13)
In the Gospel reading, Jesus’ disciples seem confused after his death and resurrection. They decide to return to fishing – the profession of several disciples before they first met Jesus. After a futile night of fishing on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus shouts at them from the shore, urging them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Immediately they make a large catch of fish. Only then do they realize that it is Jesus on the shoreline – the one who years earlier had called them to leave their nets and follow him (John 21:1-19).
We enjoyed watching Elias and Jessica take in the sights and surroundings of the MCC Amman office on Thursday. For babies, each day, each experience, is an adventure of seeing the world through new eyes.
My our eyes also be opened each day to see how God is at work, giving new purpose to those with misguided zeal, restoring wholeness and joy to those who despair and mourn, revealing power through weakness, and calling us back to our true identity.