This week’s theme is victory through suffering. In Acts we find the first Christian martyr, Stephen, entering God’s glory while forgiving those who were stoning him. Psalm 31 is a prayer for refuge from enemies and persecutors, spoken with confidence in the Lord who is the strong rock of salvation. The letter of 1 Peter speaks of Jesus as the stone once rejected but now exalted to encourage those who have been rejected and sent into exile. The sermon from John 14 draws from the words of encouragement Jesus says to his disciples at the table before his crucifixion.