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Sunday Devotion: 10 May 2020, Fifth Sunday of Easter

Sunday Devotions

Going against the flow

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: Acts 7.55-60; Psalm 31.1-5, 17-18; 1 Peter 2.11-25; John 14.1-14

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 116; Revelation 21.1-2, 9-14; Acts 8.1b-13; Psalm 135.1-4,13-21; Revelation 10

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14.6)

I once hired a tuk-tuk, a kind of automated rickshaw, in New Delhi and spent the first part of the journey travelling the wrong way up a busy main road. It didn’t feel very comfortable and was probably quite dangerous!

Jesus said, ‘I am the way’ and the first Christians were said to belong to ‘the way’. Today’s readings make it abundantly clear that ‘the way’ of Jesus goes against the flow of the world.  The stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7.55-60), emphasises the level of persecution endured by the early Church, a persecution still experienced by many Christian communities in the world today. From 1 Peter 2 we glean that the early Christians were accused of ‘doing wrong’. Indeed, since they had no temples or priests and made no animal sacrifices, they were accused of being godless.

Choosing to go against the flow of the world by following the way of Jesus can be uncomfortable, and in many places it is an extremely dangerous thing to do. Here in Australia we are unlikely to face serious persecution, but we may experience social awkwardness, scathing remarks or even ostracism. However, If we find ourselves counting the cost of going against the flow, today’s readings offer tremendous hope. For example, Psalm 31 reminds us that we can “take refuge” in the Lord and that “the Lord preserves the faithful”.

We may be going against the flow by following Jesus’ way, but our trajectory is towards God and his eternal kingdom.

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