This weekend is Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of May, beginning the Fifth Week of Easter.

The Sons of Korah sing Garments of Praise, a setting of Psalm 30.

Over the last week, as we continue to celebrate the season of Easter, we have heard some encouraging words from Jesus – how he, the Good Shepherd, lays down his life for us, how his sheep hear his voice and follow him, and will never perish.  We have heard him reassure us that he has prepared a place for us.  And in the readings from the Acts of the Apostles we have seen how God is at work in the world and its people, as the Good News was spread far and wide by a motley crew of believers, small in number, but big on passion, commitment and energy.

Out of all this, which of the days do you remember most strongly?  Which one made an impression on you?  Was there anything in particular that touched you, that inspired or encouraged you?  If there was, just recall that for a moment now.

There are more words of encouragement in this Sunday’s second reading from the First Letter of Peter.

In this letter, Peter seems to be exploring the metaphor of people as “stones” – as “living stones” – in a number of different ways.   He describes Jesus as a living stone, and as the stone that was rejected by the builders, but has become the cornerstone.  There is more than one side to that image.  Which part of it appeals to you most?  – Jesus as the cornerstone, the solid foundation on which to build our life?   – the one who was rejected being vindicated and given his rightful place?

Peter writes about us, too – the Christian community – as “living stones” being built into a spiritual house.  How well does that sit with your experience of the Christian community?  If you belong to a parish or a prayer group or any other kind of Christian community, can you see yourself and your fellow Christians as “living stones being built into a spiritual house”?  Does it help, does it encourage you to see yourself and your fellow Christians that way?

The trouble, perhaps, with the image of stones is that it’s difficult to imagine them as living – they just sit there, they’re static, they don’t move.  Yet, in this letter, Peter does not invite us to be static.  As you listen to the passage again, notice what active things he invites to go out and do.

What might you do today to “offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God”?  What might you do to “proclaim God’s mighty acts”?  Can you talk about this now with the Lord, who is here with you now, who loves you and has “called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”?