“And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.” (John 17:11a)
If one follows the church year, the Thursday before Easter 7 marks the Ascension (Luke 24:44-53), as the risen Jesus leaves his disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Presumably, we are left in our own to wait without Jesus or the Spirit until Pentecost (next Sunday). Yikes!
This Sunday (Easter 7B) we read these words of Jesus offered as a prayer for those same disciples. The scene is the upper room after he has washed their feet but before Jesus is betrayed and arrested, before his trial and execution, before the glory of Easter and before the forty days he revealed himself again and again in the flesh.
While these words come to us out of sequence in the timeline after Easter, they help us remember what Jesus was revealing to his followers all along. He is the “word made flesh among us” (John 1:14). This is not just a promise for his earthly life, but the gift of hi presence among us always. The incarnation extends beyond our physical contact in the flesh. Jesus is with us wherever we are and through our witness is revealed to others.
At the Ascension, we might ask, “Where did Jesus go?” “Are we left alone?” “Is God far away?” “Am I Forgotten?”
Jesus told us last week (Easter 6B) to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). These ten days between his Ascension and the day of Pentecost are NOT about Jesus leaving us behind by an absentee savior, but about our renewal to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. This is our moment to reflect, wonder and invite others into our ongoing connection to the eternal word who continues to live among us as we abide in him; his love; his grace and truth. This is our time to join his calling to make all things new among us and through us, remembering that the Spirit will indeed come to empower us.
Just as Mary was the first God-bearer (theotokos); we too are to bear Christ to those around us wherever we are.
When the Spirit comes at Pentecost to get us moving …look out!
How is Jesus calling you to bear Christ today?
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