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Bible Study Guide for Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 7, 2023

[Acts 7:55-60, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16]

            For a few years in my career as a middle- and high-schooler in Colorado, I attended the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado’s spring and fall youth camps outside Buena Vista. One year the spring theme was “Taste and See that the Lord is Good,” referencing the verse from Psalm 38 that Saint Peter alludes to in the first line of today’s Epistle reading. I still vividly remember the two-man rock band that played on stage for the large-group programming that weekend and for the Sunday morning worship. The band members were two goofy, youth group leader-type dads in their 40s who must have practiced in their garages on the weekends. They had clearly been excited to write catchy theme music for the weekend to entertain us tweens and make Christianity “cool.” I could still sing you the chorus to that song, as I did while reading the Epistle today: “Taste and see that the Lord is good, He’s got milk and honey for YOU!”

            Unfortunately I was in a phase where I thought Christian rock was uncool, and I giggled a bit as we sang along with the words on the projector screen that weekend. Yet I still remember that song and those two rock band dads all these years later. I wonder why?

            Likely it has at least a bit to do with being there at a formative time in my youth, plus the power of a catchy tune. But sometimes these experiences are the building blocks of faith in ways we can’t quite understand. I’ve long since forgotten those men’s names if I ever knew them, and I have no idea where life has taken them; but I now understand their style of worship as a genuine expression of their faith. Their commitment to spend a weekend on stage at a church youth camp, singing for and preaching to and praying with a crowd of teenagers, has bound me that much closer to Scripture and to the church. We make those connections one living stone at a time, and by them our faith comes into shape.

            We could say much the same about Saint Peter and the psalm of David he quotes here. This letter of the New Testament is attributed to Peter, a man who we know was raised Jewish. The psalms would have been deeply familiar to him from whatever religious education he received, as well as from regular exposure in services at temple or at home. They would have been the building blocks, the underlying rhythm of his life. They continued to serve him well as he walked with Jesus and shared His good news with others. King David, who lived long before Peter, became a stone at the base of Peter’s “spiritual house.”

            That house is still being built today on an ever-grander scale, each time we come to church even though we don’t really feel like it, each time we reach out to check on a friend we haven’t heard from in a while, each time we pray and invoke the communion of all the saints. From David to Peter to us, those who have gone before us and those who live alongside us are the living stones that build one another up to be the Church. I mean this in a broader sense: while the institutional church has been my faith home since birth and it brings me much joy, it’s an institution filled with human division and failings. Christ’s Bride, Jesus’s eternal Church, is the mystical body that exists outside time and across denominations, bringing us spiritual growth through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

– Betsy Noecker


What formative experiences have stuck with you in your journey as a Christian? Name one or two in particular.

Who has been a living stone to you recently? This could be someone living or dead.

When is a time when you felt like a member of the mystical Church, the larger body of Christ?


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