This Week

Holding Together a Disintegrating World

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Acts 16:9-15

Psalm 67

Revelation 21:10, 22—22:5

John 14:23-29

Prayer of the DayBountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

“You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.” John 14:28-29.

The Feast of the Ascension is, alas, one of those unmovable observances, meaning that, unless it falls on a Sunday, it gets lost somewhere during the last couple of weeks of Easter. That is a shame. The ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God the Father is a central feature of our creeds and crucial part of the gospel narrative. This event establishes Jesus’ faithful life, obedient death and glorious resurrection as a truly cosmic event. This Jesus is shown to be that word “upholding the universe.” Hebrews 1:3. He is the one “for whom and by whom all things exist.” Hebrews 2:10. “In him,” says Saint Paul, “all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17. Through Jesus God works “to reconcile to himself all things.” Colossians 1:19-20. As the words of a recent hymn proclaim, “Christ is alive, no longer bound to distant years in Palestine; but saving, healing here and now, and touching every place and time.” “Christ is Alive! Let Christians Sing,” Brian A. Wren (pub. by Hope Publishing Co. c. 1975) Hymn # 389 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (c. 2006 by Augsburg Fortress Publishers). Jesus, we must be clear, is not anybody’s “personal savior.” He is the savior of the world. The church is not the privileged and exclusive owner of salvation. It is the people entrusted with announcing it and testifying to it.

This word comes at a time when the world seems to be coming apart at the seams. Read more