Five Rivers District
Today's Lectionary Text
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his homestead become desolate,
‘Let another take his position of overseer.’
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
The story of choosing Judas’ replacement is complex one. It deals with the grief of losing one of the disciples’ friends, Judas. However, it also points to the need for partnership in ministry. God’s ministry flourishes when we work in collaboration within teams, putting to use the variety of gifts each disciple brings to the work of ministry. Recently during our Congregational Excellence meeting, Rev. Nathan Stanton led us in a devotion time. He invited us to name each team member’s gifts and lift them up in prayer. The exercise reaffirmed Paul’s exhortation of harnessing all the gifts among the body of Christ to further the transformative mission of God. This story is also about discernment in forming ministry teams and in identifying ministry partners.
In this pandemic season, as the Great Plains Conference focuses on seeking justice, who might God be calling you to partner with in seeking justice?
As Susan Beaumont writes, “Discernment relies on vulnerability, humility and unknowing. It opens up creativity and compassion. It requires patience, perseverance and fluidity in practices of dialogue and prayer. It works on God’s timing and not in accordance with human time frames.”
-Rev. Kalaba Chali
Mercy and Justice Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Generous God and giver of all gifts, open our eyes to see the gifts and graces people around us bring to your work and in our communities. Grant that we may discern how to form ministry teams for the purpose of your mission and your kingdom. Amen.
-Devotion and prayer inspired by Catch the Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World by Blake Busick and Christie Latona, For sermon outlines and worship helps for the season of Easter, go to www.greatplainsumc.org/catchfire.
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