Tag Archive for 'Ascension'

Easter 7 June 5, 2011

Acts 1:6-14                                                                          

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11                                                    

John 17:1-11

My original thought was to retire at the end of this calendar year, or in November when I reach the mandatory retirement age in the Episcopal Church. It was my wife Anne who suggested that the Day of Pentecost, next Sunday, would be a better time. It’s the end of the church school year, she pointed out, and it would be smoother to have the interim before the next priest comes take place over the summer, when things are relatively quiet.

What neither of us thought of was how deeply the readings and liturgies of these weeks would speak to transition – transition in your lives and in ours. Liturgically, Jesus has “gone away,” ascended into heaven. We are waiting for what comes next: the “sending of the Holy Spirit.” It is not that I have been Jesus, or Anne and I – or you have been Jesus to us (though of course in a sense we are all Christ to each other, aren’t we?). Jesus remains Jesus. It is rather that departures, loss, transitions, interims are powerful times, full of God as well as of the devil. We are entering into such a time, and these weeks of the Church Year have much to say to us about such times. So, this morning, let us listen. Continue reading ‘Easter 7 June 5, 2011’

Easter 5 May 22, 2011

Acts 7:55-60

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

“I am the way, and the truth and the life.”

The professor who taught me criminal law was scarcely older than his students. He was brilliant and charming and kind. He and his family had been refugees from Hungary, whether from the Nazis or the Communists I’m not sure. They were Jewish. While still a young man, Paul Bator was diagnosed with cancer, which progressed quickly to his brain. One day he awoke totally deaf, not long after totally blind. Shortly before he died, he wrote a letter to his friends, which one of them shared with me. “Don’t feel sorry for me,” he said. “I have everything I need: chocolate and raspberries and Jesus.” Continue reading ‘Easter 5 May 22, 2011’

Easter 7 May 16, 2010

Acts 16:16-34                                                                      

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-171, 20-21                                       

John 17:20-26

“I just had a general question for you,” said the email I got last week. “Is it possible to not believe in God, but to believe in Jesus Christ and in good vs. evil?”

What a wonderful question – and always good to get questions from people, especially ones like this that go right to the heart of things. And a specially wonderful question for this Sunday, which I like to think of as “God has gone away” Sunday. This is the Sunday in the Christian year between the Ascension, last Thursday, and Pentecost, next Sunday. The Ascension celebrates Jesus going up to heaven after the resurrection, to “sit at the right hand of God,” as the Creeds put it. Pentecost celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit of God to be with us here on earth. So, in between, God has in a sense gone away. Continue reading ‘Easter 7 May 16, 2010’

Easter 7 May 24, 2009

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26                                                           

1 John 5:9-13                                                                      

John 17:6-19

 

Our Christian religion is full of paradoxes. Indeed, we could almost say that the presence of paradox is our best indicator that we are in the presence of God. For instance: Jesus is truly and fully human, but at the same time truly and fully God. God is One, but at the same time Three. You and I are sinners, but also saved. And all that is just the beginning. All through our history, people have tried to rationalize or clarify away these paradoxes. To say that Jesus wasn’t fully human or wasn’t really divine. That God was not Trinity. That we are not really sinners or not surely saved. We call those attempted simplifications heresies. By eliminating the paradoxical element of our faith, they take the life out of it. There is something about the tension in paradox that is necessary, that is the heart of Christianity. Continue reading ‘Easter 7 May 24, 2009’