This was the last Sunday of the Easter season as we make preparations next week to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the long season of dedication and duty as the church seeks to integrate the life of Jesus into their own experience and life together. There are three classic dimensions of the church's emphasis: koinonia (fellowship), diakonia (service and teaching) and leiturgia (worship and the work of the common, devoted life).
Each Christian is invited (vocatio / called) by Jesus into this rich life in the community of the church. We understand this to be a holy exchange, an embrace of our our true destiny and the outpouring of our experience of salvation. And the ascension of Jesus, we will read from Luke 24:44-53 in Sunday's worship, underscores its reality.
Jesus enters human history. He teaches, loves, heals, welcomes, feeds and pulls together a little band of faithful followers sold out to this grace-infused living. He demonstrates his great love in every moment, including the one that culminates in his suffering and death by defeating the power of sin and offering the world a wide, inclusive and transforming forgiveness. His resurrection from the dead validates every word of his message and provides the confident assurance that no destructive and evil power can thwart the greater goodness of God.
But then he leaves. After all this, he "up and disappears.” Just like that. We have his example and the promise of the Spirit, but the rest is left in our hands. The whole enterprise of God’s continued activity offering love and grace to a very broken and needy world is all left to us. It’s a tremendous and scary proposition. What God intends to do will be done through our attempts, both feeble and faithful as they may be. What an awesome compliment to our importance! What confidence has been placed in our laps. What potential lies nearby when we endeavor together in fellowship, service and worship.
If anything is true, it is how we cannot do this work alone. We need one another, all of us, every story and every voice. Another summer looms ahead. A time for planting, watering and growing. A time to soak it in and shine it out. Long days and warm nights await. We welcome rest and renewal, a change of pace, a steady focus, a deeper reflection and a more attuned readiness. So that we can be busy, busy, busy with all good and helpful things, until our LORD returns again.
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