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A woman wanted to visit a psychic. Her boyfriend was against it. “They’re all frauds,” he said. “I want to try it,” she said. “I’ll pay for it. Hey, I’ll bet she’ll be able to contact your grandmother.”
The boyfriend gave in. The psychic welcomed them into her room, sat them down at her table in the dimmed room and began the séance. She closed her eyes. A moment later her eyelids began fluttering and her hands floated up above the table.
Shortly thereafter, a coherent voice emanated saying,
“Grandson? Are you there?“
The man replied, ”Grandmother? is that you?”
”Yes grandson, it’s me,” the voice came back.
“I told you she was real!” the girlfriend whispered to her boyfriend.
“It’s really you, grandmother?” the man repeated.
“Yes, grandson. it’s really me”.
The voice came back once again. The man looked puzzled,
“You’re sure it’s you, grandmother?” he asked again.
“Yes, grandson,” the voice once again returned,” It’s definitely me.”
The man paused a moment.
“Grandmother, I have just one question for you,” he said.
“Anything, my child,” the voice replied.
“When did you learn to speak English?”
Mother of God
There were four women bragging about their sons. The first woman says, “Have you heard? My son is a priest. He’s very well respected that when he enters a room or a building, everyone greets him, ‘Hello, Father.’
“Psh! That’s nothing,” the second woman answers. “My son is a bishop so when he enters a building or a room, people greet him, ‘Good morning, Your Excellency!’”
“Is that all you’ve got?” interjects the third woman. “I’ll do you one better! My son is a cardinal, and when he walks into a room, people greet him, ‘Hello, Your Eminence.’”
The fourth woman, who had been quiet thus far smiles and says, “Well, my son doesn’t have any title, but he’s tall, handsome, looks like a Hollywood star, that when he walks into a room, women fan themselves and go, ‘My God!’”
Acts 9:36-43 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Peter in Lydda and Joppa
36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.[a] She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them, and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Meanwhile, he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
- 36Tabitha in Aramaic and Dorcas in Greek means a gazelle
Revelation 7:9-17 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Multitude from Every Nation
9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!”
11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 For this reason they are before the throne of God
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16 They will hunger no more and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat,
17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
John 10:22-30 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Jesus Is Rejected by the Jews
22 At that time the Festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah,[a] tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, 26 but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all,[b] and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
“He Called My Name”
The Rev Dr. Dianne Carpenter
Acts 9:36-43; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30
8 May 2022
Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, 26 but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep…”
Last Sunday we heard about one of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus in which Jesus sought out Peter and told him that rather than being a Fisherman, Peter was to become the Shepherd of Jesus’ flock.
The bishops of the church have as part of their liturgical garments a Staff, a Shepherd’s crook if you will, to symbolize their place in the work of the church – to follow Jesus like Peter was called to do- shepherding the flock, feeding the lambs and tending the infant church. In fact, while the terms might not have come into use immediately, Peter was “de facto” the Bishop in Jerusalem just as the Pope is the Bishop of Rome following Paul’s “de facto” call to that office.
Likewise, the orthodox churches are led by Bishops following the Bishop in Constantinople after the church had spread.
And so according to Acts we see Peter involved in ministry in Lydia near Joppa which are Northwest of Jerusalem and on the Mediterranean Sea. He is summoned it as the recognized shepherd of the Christian flock to the home of Dorcas who has just died.
Dorcas it is referred to as a disciple of Jesus in this passage—a female disciple. God has empowered a woman whose name means “gazelle” to be Jesus’ disciple. She functions as one of the early Deacons of the church. Her ministry is one of service. She heads up a welfare program among Joppa’s poor people. In her day widows languished on the very bottom rung of society’s ladder. They had no one to either protect or represent them. So widows are society’s most vulnerable citizens to whom Jesus’ disciple Dorcas gives hope.
In Joppa every believer knew and thanked god for this disciple of Jesus. Dorcas reminds us of the people in our own congregations who never seem to tire of doing Jesus’ work for hurting people. God always seems to put them in the right place at the right time, with helpful words and compassionate actions. We thank God for them and wish there were even more of them. The deacons of the Jewish communities were responsible for the care of widows because women were invisible. Today, the women of Afghanistan are becoming invisible as the current regime The Taliban have ordered all women to cover their faces in public in Afghanistan, the latest sweeping restriction by a government that has taken away women’s right to travel long distances alone, work outside healthcare or education, and receive a secondary education.13 hours ago
However, after an apparently short illness, Dorcas’ seemingly boundless capacity for ministry drains away. She dies, plunging the whole community into profound grief. And when Dorcas dies, her ministry to people on society’s margins dies with her.
When Peter first arrives, it’s your average pastoral care call. A friend dies and they call the head pastor, Peter. He arrives in haste. I’m sure he was greeted with solemn faces, many tears. There were hugs and loving touches for all who were grieving. The house appears full of mourners- widows who had received the love and compassion of a woman named Dorcas.
It was a scene not unlike Jesus being summoned to Mary and Martha’s home upon the death of Lazarus.
Once Peter makes his way through the crowd, the widows begin telling stories. Isn’t that what we do? We tell stories of our loved ones when they are gone. We remember together. And apparently remembering Dorcas meant remembering her craft. “The widows stood beside Peter, weeping and showing him tunics and other clothing that she made while she was with them.” I imagine many were wearing those tunics and clothing.
It seems a wonderful tribute to Dorcas-the work of her hands walking around while stories are told of her love and compassion. They were showing her off by showing off her handiwork.
With Lazarus Jesus called his name and he came out of the tomb into the midst of the mourners.
But Peter put the mourners outside and, alone, entered the room where Dorcas was. The last time Peter has done something like this he was with Jesus and a couple other friends. They entered the room of Jarius’ daughter who had died. Jesus told her to get up and she did.
Peter imitated Jesus. He called Dorcas’ name and she got up.
And then calling the saints and widows-Peter showed them Tabitha. Not the work of her hands but the work of God’s hand, the work of the Spirit to resurrect, to give life, to recreate, to lift up. Peter showed them God’s handiwork.
This text is a happy, hopeful one of healing in the face of chronic illness and life in the face of death.
During his life and ministry Jesus called the names of people and they came to life in his presence. And John recorded that when Jesus was walking in the portico of the temple for the Festival of Dedications, he said that those who believed, who were his “sheep,” would hear his voice, recognize it and follow in his paths of life…
…” my sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Mary recognized the risen Christ in the garden when he called her name.
The disciples followed Jesus when he called their names. Lazarus came from the tomb when Jesus called his name… Jarius’ daughter got up from death when he called her name…
Last week we heard Jesus asked Peter he loved him and when Peter said ‘yes’ Jesus commissioned him to call the name of those who were sheep of Jesus’ flock.
Peter was to follow in his master’s steps… Peter called Tabitha’s name and she came to life!
Some people expect a narrow imitation of Jesus. Healing ministries and resurrections in the flesh. However, I would like to suggest that Jesus was all about broad interpretations of God’s relationship to humanity and creation.
Dorcas’ rising to life signals that God values societies’ marginalized citizens like widows, as much after Jesus’ resurrection as before it. Widows, orphans, children, and other vulnerable people are very close to God’s heart.
The church had to deal with many challenging issues within its ranks as well as in relationship to the Roman Empire and the Temple Establishment. Do people become Christ followers by baptism or by becoming Jewish and then Baptized? Do women speak in the public settings? Can we embrace within our fellowship people whose culture and appearance is not like our own?
The history of the faith is long but the call to various ministries – has continued because God’s work is not done.
Has Jesus called your name….? To follow him…. To participate in his healing ministry… To call the name of someone who is sinking or dying emotionally or physically. Someone whom Jesus loves, one of the sheep.
He called my name and I’ve never been the same… He is calling the name of someone here today…. To Come to life, to be resurrected, to rise and follow him…. Is it you?
20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told the that he had said these things to her.
34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”