Monday, May 30, 2011

Ascension: Easter 7A

This Week's Lectionary Texts:

This Week's Reflection:
This Sunday is Ascension Sunday for some churches. Others will follow the texts listed here that are from the seventh Sunday of Easter. These texts also point us toward the Ascension of the Christ. Acts does so overtly whilethe other texts take a more subtle approach.

Before moving forward with this reflection, I must draw your attention to Acts 1:7 which has the resurrected Jesus saying “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." It is impossible to read this sentence without thinking about Harold Camping's prediction of "the rapture" which recently passed us all by without incident. What does it mean for the Christian Church when such false prophets take advantage of people, gain so much media attention, and make all prophets look like fools? Where are we preachers when this happens? And, in what ways do we combat this kind of press for Christianity? Should we even be considering such a thing?

I believe we should. I believe we should because of Ascension. These texts this week may point us toward the Ascension of Jesus, but I believe they also point us toward our own ascension. The gospel text reminds us that Jesus himself prayed for us. He knelt down and prayed to God to be with all of his disciples - those of his day and in all the days to come. In that prayer, he lifts us up to God and expects that we will continue to ascend higher and higher toward God in our call to serve others on this earth.
The writer of 1 Peter reminds us that this will not be an easy task. It isn't all light with fluffy white clouds engulfing us. Sometimes it feels like "a fiery ordeal." And yet, the Holy Spirit is right alongside us helping us to continue to be faithful - to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison - and with each moment of faithfulness, we ascend a little bit more to experience the glory that is God.
We prophets, we preachers, we disciples of Christ, must pick up the pieces when someone like Camping causes so much damage. We look to the skyand see that Christ has joined our Creator, but we must not stand there simply staring into the clouds. How wepick up the pieces will be determined by our setting of ministry, but one thing is for certain. In working to defend the helpless, in seeking to know Holy Spirit in a real way, in following the Christ, we will find our ascension is happening a little at a time all along the way.