This post offers visual resources for the Revised Common Lectionary and the Narrative Lectionary for May 7, 2023. This is the fifth Sunday of Easter (fourth Sunday after Easter). 

Jump to Narrative Lectionary resources.

Revised Common Lectionary

Here are quick links to all the texts for this week:

May 7

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

The tree of the church has been growing in Jerusalem for a while. It set its roots in chapters 1-2. In chapters 3-5 it experienced some good fruit and growth in ministry. In chapters 6-7 we see the church experience its first real pain.

This section is all about a young, Grecian Jew, who actually “got it” when it came to the message that Jesus proclaimed. Through the life of Stephen, God was able to demonstrate what the Kingdom of God and God’s Love was all about. Stephen gave up his life for his Lord and became the first martyr for Jesus in history. We have much to be thankful for in the life and ministry of Stephen.

CLICK HERE for an introduction and overview of Acts.

In 1 Peter 2:2-10 we see the key phrases for the image above. Verses 4-5 say,

“Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Gospel Reading John 14:1–14. Many Dwelling Places in God’s House.

This image comes from page 16 in A Cartoonist’s Guide to John.

This passage happens within the context of the intimate conversation Jesus has with his disciples on the night he is betrayed and arrested. It starts in chapter 13 where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet as a living example of what they are called to do for the world.

Today’s reading, John 14:1-10, introduces a key word for understanding this whole text, and for understanding missional theology. The word is dwell. Notice how Jesus plays with this word. First, he tells the disciples that he is going to his Father’s house where there are many dwelling places. But then, after he is questioned about how to get to the Father, where does he say the Father dwells? The Father dwells in Jesus.

The dwelling of God is not a physical place. It’s not a big mansion in the sky in the great by-and-by. The dwelling of God is the interrelationships of all things. We will see this play out in chapters 14-17.

Read this post to get a framework for how I see this passage as a guide for how we are called to dwell in the world as the people of God. This is what I mean by missional theology.

Preview PowerPoint

Feel free to use any or all of these slides and images in your own preaching and teaching.

Narrative Lectionary

This week the NL launches a three-week series on Romans. 

The PowerPoint below is from a sermon I gave in 2015 on Romans 1:1-17 while preaching through the Narrative Lectionary. The download contains all 25 slides plus the full manuscript of the sermon. Read the sermon HERE.

Preview PowerPoint

Feel free to use any or all of these slides and images in your own preaching and teaching.

The visual commentary below highlights the heart of the message and the Good News for today.

Paul writes to the church in Rome, who is divided between the Jews and the Gentiles, and says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, first to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles.”

So, what about us today? What is the power of the Gospel in the twenty-first century?

I think the answer to that question is different for everyone.

Some of us need to be saved from bondage of some kind. Something has a grip on your mind and heart that is not allowing you to experience the love of God. If you feel like it is difficult to believe that God loves you, or if you have difficulty loving and/or forgiving someone else, or if you struggle with loving yourself, then you are in bondage and need to be saved from it.

The truth is, we all are.

What is it for you today?

Do you feel lost?

Are you deep in debt and financial bondage?

Are you gripped by an addiction?

The Good News is that God does love you, the way of Jesus leads us to new life, and the Power of the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live the life for which we were created.

I think there is another kind of salvation, as well. And, perhaps, this is what Paul was trying to communicate.

I think, many times, we need to be saved from our “isms.”

An “ism” is what happens when you believe that your way of seeing the world and understanding God is the only correct way and that everyone else must become just like you in order to be right with God.

Paul said, “for I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

God is faithful to God’s promise. God became flesh in Jesus to show us the way of life. The Spirit brought Jesus back from the dead and that same Spirit is poured out on all people, to give us the faith to know that we can be saved.

He is risen, He is risen, indeed, Alleluia!

Join me every Monday at 4:00pm Central Time for a live Bible study on Zoom.

These sessions include:

  • a presentation of the visual resources for the lectionary texts for the week,
  • live discussion around the texts,
  • previews and behind-the-scenes peeks at what is happening at A Cartoonist’s Guide to the Bible

The video of the session remains available on the network to view at any time, in case you can’t make it for the live session.

This is a part of the Cartoonist’s Bible Network. I’d love to have you join us.

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