Although two Gospel writers don’t even mention it, Luke
clearly values the Ascension. He ends his Gospel with the
event and opens his second volume, the Acts of the Apostles,
with a recounting of it. In verse 5 of Acts 1, Luke reminds Jesus’
followers of the promise Jesus made before his death: They “will
be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Then in verse 8, he recalls Jesus’ words, “You will receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” How significant were
these words that they were the last message Jesus gave to his
We find in the very next chapter the fulfillment of the promise
on the day of Pentecost, which we celebrate next Sunday.
The Holy Spirit anoints the gathered crowd in a rush of wind
and tongues of flame. That morning all languages are understood.
And by the end of Acts 2, believers hold all possessions
in common, caring for the needy, breaking bread together, and
Jesus did not leave a blueprint to follow, a plan to execute.
Events unfolded when open hearts received the power of the
Holy Spirit. Here, for a moment, among the believers in the
Jerusalem church, Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” finds
In a world buffeted by winds of war and division, those of
us who follow the Prince of Peace feel compelled to ask what
force is stronger than these powerful gales and gusts? Only
a bold and grace-filled wind like the one that filled the room
at Pentecost—the kind that stirs people of good will to lavish
compassion, extravagant mercy, and just sharing of the common
wealth—can tame the hateful blasts. If we are open to receiving
the power of the Holy Spirit, we too become part of the fulfillment
of Jesus’ final, fervent prayer for the world.
Anointing God, open my heart to the fullness of your power and strengthen me to receive it with courage. 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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