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We are looking for new writers and would love to have you join the team. Please email Rev. Bob Dean and include a writing example.
May 21, 2023 — 7th Sunday after Easter
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10,32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
Rev. Rebecca Campney Carver ?
We stood on a hillside to the east of Jerusalem at the site traditionally thought to be where the Ascension of Christ took place. It was the last full day of our Holy Land Trip in 1999, which was led by Bishop and Mrs. Jordan. Our guide told us about the site and showed us a rock with what looked like two footprints. Supposedly they are thought to be Jesus’ last marks on earth prior to his ascension into heaven. The skeptic in me scoffed at the idea that the marks in the stone were “footprints” or even that the site was where Jesus and the disciples stood. And yet, as we looked out across the city from that high place, there was that sense that yet again, we were on holy ground. Two thousand years of faith, belief, tradition, and hope had brought our group, and countless others before and after, to that particular spot on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. We too looked to the heavens in hope of what might be possible.
For many, there is a tendency to skip over the Ascension in our rush to reach Pentecost and all the joy of that event. Historically, Ascension Day is 40 days after Easter, typically landing on a Thursday, and churches can choose to remember the Ascension on the Sunday after the 40th day. The passage of scripture from Acts 1 for this Sunday tells the story of that day when Jesus was taken up into heaven. If we bypass Ascension on our way to the glory of Pentecost, we miss the opportunity to explore what it means to live in a post Ascension world. We miss the chance to do as the disciples did. . . spend time in prayer and expectation as we await the coming of the Spirit and the birth of the church.
The reality of the passage from Acts is a reminder to the disciples and to us to continue the mission. As the disciples stood watching Jesus disappear into the heavens, praying and hoping that he would come back as he had already done at the resurrection, they were called back to reality. Two persons appeared to them, possibly angels, who 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” (Acts 1:11). It was assurance for the disciples and a renewal of their call. They returned to Jerusalem, devoting themselves to prayer as they awaited what might be next.
In anxious times, life may be so overwhelming that we may feel that we cannot go on or continue our work. It is tempting to stand like the disciples looking to the heavens with the desire to see Jesus returning to earth. We may struggle to find comfort when all seems lost around us. The passage from 1 Peter speaks of the fiery ordeal that seeks to destroy or devour us. The writer encourages the faithful to “cast all your anxiety on [God], because [God] cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The reader is also reminded to stay alert, because in due time God will “restore, support, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10b). It is another way of reminding us to return from the heavens, keep our feet on solid ground, unite our lives in prayer, and await what is to come.
Rev. Rebecca Campney Carver is a retired pastor, living in Coralville. When not working as a personal online shopper at Hy-Vee, she can be found playing bass and singing with the praise team at Iowa City, First UMC.
¿Le gustaría a Ud. escribir para el Memorándum?
Buscamos a nuevos escritores y nos encantaría si Ud. fuera parte del equipo. Favor de enviar un correo electrónico al Rvdo. Bob Dean e incluir un ejemplo de su obra.
21 mayo, 2023 — Séptimo domingo de la Resurrección
Hechos 1:6-14; Salmos 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Pedro 4:12-14, 5:6-11; Juan 17:1-11
Por Rebecca Campney Carver