The writer of Ephesians paints a royal portrait of Jesus seated
next to God in the heavenly places, “far above all rule and
authority and power and dominion” with “all things under his
feet.” It depicts Christ enthroned and almighty—a far cry from
the humble Jesus who was born in a stable, lived among the
outcasts, and breathed his last on a criminal’s cross.
Several years ago, on Christmas Eve in a shelter for homeless
women, Sheila accused Mary of stealing her coat. Mary
called Sheila a string of very creative synonyms for “prostitute.”
Sheila shot back that Mary was a “no-good good-for-nothing.”
Mary replied proudly, “I’m an aristocrat of the highest order,
with the Rothschilds on my mother’s side and the three wise
men on my father’s.” End of argument. Sheila couldn’t top that.
That night, as I pondered the claim of wealth and royalty
that erupted out of Mary’s poverty and vulnerability, I thought
of the words of another Mary. Awaiting her miraculous son’s
birth, she proclaimed that God had “brought down the powerful
from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; . . . filled the hungry
with good things and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53).
I imagine Mary and her friends at the shelter saying to the
kings on their thrones, “Move over, it’s our turn now.” Jesus
brings a whole throng to the heavenly places. Those of us who
claim to follow him, who are willing to have “the eyes of [our]
hearts enlightened,” can also lay claim to these “riches of his
glorious inheritance.” But we must be humble to be exalted and
learn to see the world and all God’s children through the eyes of
Christ—which are the eyes of the heart.
Compassionate God, give me discerning eyes to see your truth and a loving heart to act on it. Amen.
The entire Easter season focuses on the new governance that breaks the grip of all that is old, tired, deathly, and enslaving. The psalm shows the church using the ancient language of enthronement. Now it is Jesus through whom the drama of God’s power is brought to fruition. In Acts, the community accepts the new governance as a bold witness in the world, sustained by a disciplined life of prayer. The epistle reading addresses people who are in the midst of suffering, hurt, and need. They are enjoined to powerful hope for the time of God’s eventual and full triumph. The Gospel portrays the church under the power of God’s resolve, being given a wholly new identity and vocation in the world.
• Read Acts 1:6-14. Having received the power of the Holy Spirit, how is your life unfolding?
• Read Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35. When have you sensed God’s absence? How did you attempt to fill that void?
• Read 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11.When has God restored you?
• Read John 17:1-11. Where do you see Jesus as you go about your daily life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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