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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, May 22, 2022

May 22, 2022
  • Acts 16:9-15
  • Psalm 67
  • Revelation 21:10; 22-22:5
  • John 14:23-29

Today’s collect invites us to dream big, and to know that God will give us more than we could ever hope for.  God has “prepared … such good things as surpass our understanding” and we ask that we “may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire.” 

That can seem a bit daunting.  So today’s readings give some examples of God’s gifts.

In Acts, Paul and his companions have a vision telling them to go to Macedonia so they immediately set out for Macedonia to spread the gospel there.  They don’t take time to plan out their journey.  When they arrive they soon find some women gathered.  One of them, Lydia, is soon baptized and insists that Paul and his companions stay at her home.  Through Lydia’s generosity, God provides for their basic needs.

While Acts showed how God provided for Paul’s ordinary needs, our next two readings invite us to dream bigger.  The Psalm asks that God’s “saving health [be known] among all nations.”  Our present world is full of strife and conflict but the Psalm invites us to hope for harmony, with all the nations praising God and singing for joy.  Revelation offers a vision of a whole world that is redeemed and renewed.  In this last chapter of the Bible, we do not ascend to some disembodied heaven but the holy city comes down from heaven to our own physical concrete world.  The whole city is filled with the presence of God, so there is no need for a temple building.  The city lives in peace and safety so there is no need to ever shut the city gates.  While the fruit trees that we know will bear fruit at certain times of the year, the tree of life in this holy city produces fruit every month, and “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”  This is a vision of peace and joy and abundance, where the world is finally set right and all the nations are united in worshipping God and the Lamb.

After the glorious cosmic images of Revelation, our Gospel passage becomes very personal.  Jesus promises his followers that “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.”  The same God who is glorified in the Holy City is also tender and personal, promising to dwell with God’s people.  And while Jesus is about to leave, he promises to send the Holy Spirit as an Advocate.  Jesus is going to the Father, but that does not mean he will leave his disciples on their own.

Today’s readings show God giving ordinary provisions, peace and harmony among nations, a glorious future of light and abundance, and God’s own gentle presence. The collect reminds us that even this is a fraction of what God has prepared for us, as God has prepared “such good things as surpass our understanding” and has promised more than we can even desire.  

– Kristen Filipic


Has there been a time when you have been aware that God is providing for you?Have you, like Lydia, ever been the means by which God provided for someone else?

The Psalm asks for God’s “saving health among all nations.”The Tree of Life in Revelation has leaves “for the healing of the nations.”Where in particular do you see the nations needing healing in our world?What might that healing look like?

How do you think about God’s promises “[exceeding] all that we can desire”?Are our desires too small?


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