Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders.
Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
In the movies, when there is a deathbed scene and relatives gather to say their good-byes, the dying will give their last words of what they want to have carried out in their absence. It is always what is most important to them. What happens after that tells us all we need to know about the quality of the relationship with the heirs. Will the inheritors carry out the wishes of the deceased? Will they agree, but then, later, forget and do their own will?
If we put ourselves in the position of having one last thing to say, we know it would be what is most important and pressing on our hearts to pass on to our loved ones. What is the ultimate good? What is it that we desperately want them to avoid? We surely would want to impart a message of love, faith, and the greater good. “Take care of each other,”… “Remember my life and what I have taught you,”…”I will see you again one day.”
The gift that Jesus gives is his peace and the greatest gift of all: His Holy Spirit. No matter what happens to us on this earth, we have the gift of the Spirit of God and peace. We do not have to have troubled hearts. We do not have to be in fear. We can pray in faith and ask the Holy Spirit for whatever it is we need. He will remind us of Jesus’ words.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you that you have opened the door of salvation to me and to all who believe in the gift of your Son. May I be led by your Holy Spirit in all that I do. Help me to keep your word in my mind and heart so that I may be made pure and reflect the light of your truth. Amen