Friday, May 4, 2012

Year B – Easter 7 May 20, 2012 - Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

ShortStop is dedicated to life's transitions experienced in congregations, personal life, and families.  Transitions and what churches call "interim ministry" are "short stops" on the journey to new beginnings.  The ShortStop Lectionary Blog is one way to help preachers in the transition times to find ideas from the Revised Common Lectionary.  Each text will be considered but the focus each week will be on the text(s) that will be most helpful for preaching during an interim transition time. The preacher will be able to "connect the dots" creatively with themes of the lections.

Year B – Easter 7 May 20, 2012

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 • 1 John 5:9-13 • John 17:6-19

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Here is an interim transition leadership passage if ever there was one!  A new apostolic leader was needed for the early fellowship. Judas was gone and through a process of drawing straws, the lot fell to Matthias. Congregations select new pastors and staff. The also select Elders, Deacons, Vestry and Council members and more.
The preacher may go a variety of directions with this. Preparing for new leadershipe is the focus for the preacher.  The interim transition congregation is preparing for a new relationship with a leader who is yet unknown.  The disciples believed they needed to fill the hole left by Judas. And the Holy Spirit is actively involved. There were no signs and wonders but the Spirit lurks in the background of the pericope.
Theses disciples had one critical qualification – one who had been with the resurrected Jesus.  This qualification leaps out from the page for me – one who met the resurrected Jesus.  The leaders were to be ones who had first hand testimony to the resurrection.  I also suspect this means the leaders were to have a spiritual vitality because of the experience of an encounter with the resurrected Lord Jesus.  One sermon approach may be this focus on how we can nurture our spiritual lives and the practices that draw us close to God. This is a much different approach than looking for a “warm body” who will say, “ye”,  to being an officer in the church.
The selection process belies Roberts Rules of Order. They prayed.  Then drew straws.  The discernment process is probably no more crude than a majority vote. In the end, each method depends on God calling through the people and the activity of the Holy Spirit in their lives. 

-          Bob Anderson, Toledo, OH

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