"Hearken, O Lord, unto my voice which has called out to you, alleluia; my heart declared to you: "Your countenance have I sought; I shall ever seek your countenance, O Lord; do not turn your face from me, alleluia, alleluia." The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"
Acts 1:1-11Easter is 50 days; Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter—another instance of the biblical number 40.
1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
6So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
Ideas on ascendancy? Authority, reign, sovereignty, power, kingship, lordship.
Backtracking through the church's year of grace, we started with Advent when we wait for and anticipate God's arrival in our midst; then it's nativity /Christmas, with Jesus' birth as God-among-us. Next, Epiphany that starts demonstrating in a visible way how God is for everyone, for all the people of all the nations, not solely for God's original people Israel. Then it's Jesus' public ministry with his disciples among all kinds of people. Holy Week, the journey to the cross, Friday's crucifixion, Saturday – the day nothing happens yet everything happens – Easter/resurrection Sunday. Post-resurrection appearances begin with people Jesus knew during his earthly ministry, and then draw a broader, wider circle that embracing all people from everywhere.
Next Sunday we'll celebrate the 50th day of Easter, the Feast of Pentecost that along with Reformation is one of the major festivals of the Spirit. Finally, it's the long "Time of the Church" or Ordinary Time that mostly features green vestments and paraments that remind us of growing and becoming.
Over the past few Sundays we've discussed texts from the book of Revelation specifically in terms of how they help us learn how to live baptized amidst empire. The canon of scripture begins with tree of life, river of life, and a garden. The canon of scripture ends with tree of life, river of life, and a city.
In today's scripture passage from Luke's book of the Acts of the Apostles, again the disciples think Jesus came to restore political power and glory to Israel. Jesus tells them "the question is wrong!" and advises them to wait in Jerusalem until the power of the HS comes upon them and enables their witness as his presence over all the earth.
Charlene recapped the Golden Calf event from Exodus 32. Toward the end,
7The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! 9The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation." 11But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?..."
Last week we talked about the PC(USA)'s Great Ends of the Church that conclude with the Church is the Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World. That's us!
The Heidelberg Catechism tells us by faith we share in Christ's anointing—anointed to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.