Easter 7

RSS

Readings:

Sermon: 

Back in the days of my grandparents, a couple who were just beginning a romantic journey together might have been described as ‘walking out together’.

That phrase has come back to me recently as I have very tentatively begun to leave the house to do things elsewhere.  It feels like I am ‘stepping out’, going out to re-discover a face-to-face relationship with the world.  Meeting up with people who for months I have only seen on screen.  ‘Walking out’ to experience in three dimensions and with five senses, a world that had become flat screen and odourless, with no tactile engagement.  And stepping out of what has been my uncomfortable comfort zone, to rediscover what awaits me back in the ‘real’ world, and it feels wonderful!

When will it end we still cry.  When can we be properly back to ‘normal’; like it was before?  I think we know that the answer is, never.  From now on, our life journey is punctuated by the time of pandemic, like a colon in the middle of a sentence. 

Because we have been learning.  Because we are changed.  Because we have had to examine so much that we previously took for granted.  We have reassessed our priorities and counted our blessings, often in the midst of great sadness and suffering.  However bad it’s been we know it could have been so much worse; we see others in far off lands and know how fortunate we are.

So as we step back out into the world, I hope that we will be ‘walking out’ to fall in love, anew, with all that is around us. To rediscover our relationship with the planet, with people who we love and chose to share our lives and with the gospel we’re called to share, and live out, and bring to the hearts of those who need to hear it.

This week we celebrate Ascension Day.  Jesus rose up into the heavens fading from the sight of the disciples and yet, in Luke’s account, we are told that after he had gone, they ‘returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they were continually in the temple blessing God.’  Jesus had gone from them and yet they were full of joy and praise.  We might have expected them to be quite sad, bereaved even.  Jesus’ ascension brings to an end his presence with them.  Yet, despite this they go from the place rejoicing.  The promise of what is beginning is greater, more powerful, than what is coming to an end.

Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will come to them but it doesn’t happen immediately.  They spend ten days back in Jerusalem reflecting on what has happened, and preparing themselves for what is to come.  No doubt, the words that we have heard this morning as our gospel reading from John would have been very much on their minds.

These words come from Jesus’ final words to the disciples at the last supper and they are words of prayer.  Dense and intricate, they are not easy to understand but we must seek to do so as these are Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples.  He prays two things.  He prays for them to know unity that he has always known with His Father and he prays that this unity will protect them in a world that doesn’t understand.  This unity and protection come from knowing the word and the truth and joy and the very name of the Father.  This unity and protection come from knowing the Holy Spirit about to come upon them at Pentecost.

So, as we now prepare again for the coming of the Holy Spirit, praying for the Spirit to be with us as we ‘step out’ again, to ‘walk out’ freely in the world, we pray that we may experience the fullness of unity with God and one another, and be enabled to walk confidently in the world, sharing the love of God with people who, more than ever, need the Word and truth and joy that love brings.

Questions

  • What blessing do you pray that Jesus will give you as the world re-opens and you step out to proclaim the gospel in word and deed?
  • What have you learnt through lock-down that you know that you now want to be part of your life?
  • What do you think people need to hear from the church at this time?


Page last updated: 7th May 2021 11:50 AM
Bookmark and Share