This post offers visual resources for the Revised Common Lectionary and the Narrative Lectionary for May 21, 2023. This is the seventh Sunday of Easter (sixth Sunday after Easter). The RCL texts this week tell the story of Jesus preparing his disciples for his physical departure. He promises that he will be with them through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will unify them and empower them to carry out his mission. Next week we get to celebrate the coming of that Spirit on Pentecost (CLICK HERE to get a head start on visual resources for Pentecost).

Jump to Narrative Lectionary resources.

Revised Common Lectionary

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

May 21

Acts 1:6-14

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

Gospel Reading John 17:1–11. Jesus prays for his disciples before he leaves them.

This image comes from page 17 in A Cartoonist’s Guide to John.

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “eternal life?”

Maybe you have images of angels floating around in the clouds, strumming harps, stuck in choir practice forever. Perhaps you imagine walking through pearly gates on streets of gold. Or, if you drink from a different well of imagery, perhaps you imagine the undead hordes of vampires or zombies, condemned to roam the earth forever.

Our reading for the Journey today comes from John 17:1-10. Jesus has just finished pouring his heart out to the disciples in the upper room. Now he turns his attention to God the Father and prays. He talks to God.

It is in this context that Jesus defines eternal life. Notice what he says in verse 3,

and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

I find it curious that he did not say, “and this is how they may obtain eternal life.” Rather, he said, “this IS eternal life.”

I might be splitting hairs and making too much of this, admittedly. But, I think it is important. Eternal life is not a destination, it is a relationship. That is what we have been emphasizing all along in John 13-17. It is all about dwelling, remaining, in and with God as God dwells in and with us, so that we can dwell in and with the world.

The opening images that I mentioned–Angels and zombies–have something in common. They are stuck. The eternal state is one that does not change. It is static. I don’t think that is what God’s desire is for the universe, or for you. A relationship, on the other hand, is dynamic and ever-changing.

The Greek term translated eternal can also be translated of the ages. What if this meant “life of the ages,” or “life as it was intended to be lived.” It is an ever-growing relationship with God.

How might that change the way we think about the Christian life, Jesus, salvation, and Heaven?

My prayer is that you will know eternal life today.

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 brings us to part 3 of a three-week series on Romans. Last week we heard Paul’s argument that we ALL have been reconciled through Jesus Christ and have peace with God.

This week Paul responds to the question he knows his opposition will raise: “If you are so into grace for everyone, Paul, are you saying that we should sin even more so that grace can abound even more!”

Listen to how Paul responds…

Preview PowerPoint

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

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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