Monday, January 22, 2007

Easter 7 A | Sunday after Ascension Thursday

...another "recently rediscovered" handout I prepared for the study group I facilitated during spring 2005, which, after all, was lectionary year A. This particular one is not at all typical of me; maybe I was tired?

Acts 1:6-14
  • Acts 1:6-8 “Will you now, at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel? Jesus’ reply: “The question is wrong!!!!!”
  • Not about recapturing and re-appropriating specious past grandeurs, but about the work God call us to right here and right now.
  • “What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit!” You’ll receive the Holy Spirit so you can be Jesus’ witnesses and live as Jesus’ presence in the world; from now on, the world will discover Jesus’ presence within the presence of the community of the church, in our living as Jesus’ witnesses “as far as the ends [eschaton] of the earth.”
  • Acts 1:10-11 “why do you stand looking up at heaven?!” Like us at times, the disciples wanted to gaze at the heavens, to wait for Jesus’ Second Coming, and forget God calls us to transform this world, living as the presence of the Risen Christ in the heaven of right here and right now.
  • We need to remember it’s all God’s activity—we have the Holy Spirit and don’t need to imagine accomplishing all of this under our own steam.
  • Regarding Jesus ascendancy to the Father’s Right Hand of sovereignty, as Martin Luther insisted, the “Right Hand of God” - God’s sovereignty - is everywhere: in Wittenberg, Marburg, London, San Diego, Tokyo…absolutely everywhere, all the time. God’s heaven is right here and right now.
John 17:1-11

  • Jesus prayer for one-other-ness among God, Jesus, and disciples of all generations in the continuity and unity of the community of the church. Last Sunday, in John 14:18, Jesus promised he would not abandon the church; in the lections for Easter 6, Jesus promised to send the Spirit to accompany us and indwell all creation.
Acts 1 and John 17

  • Jesus gave the gospel to the disciples (including us!), who still communicate the gospel to the world through the church.
  • Within this community of the church, we can help one another experience eternity in the midst of time and discover the eternities of God’s sacramental self-revelation in the ordinariness of everyday life.
  • In God’s arrangement, it always is about the community—both Acts 1 and John 17 are about the person’s nurture, sustenance, challenge and transformation within the faith community, continuing the pattern in the earlier Old Covenant communities, in which peoplehood happens as God forms and re-forms a community for Himself and for the world.

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