Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Opening sentence and prayer:
Lord, stay with us always.
Lord God, we were sinners and Your grace made us holy, we were without hope and You filled us with joy. Stand by us in Your saving work, and stay with us in Your gifts of grace. May we never fail to persevere in the holiness that comes from faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
A Reading from Acts: Acts 15:7-21 (NLT)
At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord, including the Gentiles — all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken — he who made these things known so long ago.’
“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
A Reading from the Gospels: John 15:9-11 (NLT)
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen