May 25, 2021
This week get ready for an adventure! Put on your helmet, strap on your seat belt and get ready for mighty wind or a persistent calling! This is the day that we celebrate the lively Spirit of God, blowing freely and wherever God wills. This is a gentle and sometimes wild presence that transforms lives and communities, breaks down barriers and gives life to weary and uncertain persons and communities.
This week we celebrate Pentecost, the third great festival of the Christian year. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and so much more. Scripture tells us that 3000 people came to believe in God's Spirit on that first day. It was the beginning of a movement of a new way calling us to be open to the possibility that God is calling us to do something specific and wonderful things for the sake of the Kingdom of God right now.
May 25, 2021
This week we hear about the Ascension of Jesus. Can you imagine what a spectacular sight it was? Exactly as promised, Jesus ascended into heaven. The scriptures were fulfilled.
In Luke’s account of the Ascension, Jesus chooses to leave from Bethany. It would have been a beloved place of memory for Jesus. It was here that he found hospitality in the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It was also here he raised Lazarus from the dead and where here he received the gift of a woman’s anointing shortly before his death. Bethany had been a place of blessing for Jesus. And so, from this place of blessing, Jesus leaves, offering a blessing as he goes. While he was blessing them, Luke tells us, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.
As Jan Richardson, author of the Painted Prayerbook puts it, “Joyful, sorrowful, bittersweet; planned or unexpected; welcomed or resisted or grieved: no matter how a leave-taking happens, it always brings an invitation, and it makes a space for the Spirit to come.”
As we each navigate the leave-takings in our own lives, how do we keep our eyes open for the invitations they hold? What blessings could they offer us, and what blessings might they invite?
May 9, 2021
This week’s reading comes from the Gospel of John. A reading that if you take the time to count the word love or loved you will find it nine times in these verses. The love, friendship and joy of these verses is what we all hope lies at the heart of our experience of Christian community. Our love for one another inspires faithful action and generous giving. The joy that we participate in and experience through various outreach projects doesn’t lead us away from suffering and struggle but towards it. When we choose to look pain in the eye, in the stories of drought, shortage and yes this year long pandemic, there we find possibilities for overcoming and transformation. Jesus goes on to explain to the disciples that even pain will turn to joy and that joy is one which no one can remove.
May 9, 2021
Last week we reflected on the image of Jesus as the good shepherd and us as the wandering, stubborn sheep. This week the image used draws us even closer to Jesus with the image of the vine. We are extended from the vine as the branches. We are rooted in and draw strength and life from Jesus. We are intimately connected to Jesus. If we were cut off from Jesus, we would perish like a branch chopped off from Jesus, we would perish like a branch chopped off from its vine. How might we extend to others this life-giving, loving connection with Jesus?
(paraphrased from Gathering, Lent/Easter 2021, page 23.)