For Sunday, May 4, 2008
Seventh Sunday of Easter (Ascension Sunday)
One of the benefits of worshipping based on the Revised Common Lectionary is to have a sense of continuity throughout the year. Easter doesn’t just come and go. It endures. Maybe this is why there are seven Sundays of Easter on the calendar.
Now that Christ is ascendant what is to be the focus of our lives? Too often we get caught up in the cultural concern of the day and miss what ought to be our priority. This was true of the first generation of disciples. Their concern immediately after Jesus’ resurrection was understandably to know when Jesus was going to set up his government to replace the despised Romans. While this was the cultural concern of the day, Jesus’ concern was elsewhere: “you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:7). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says the entire book of Acts can be summarized in that phrase. This is what the Book of Acts is about. This is what the first century believers were about. They took up the challenge, were blessed immeasurably, and changed the world.
How would I like to be blessed immeasurably while being part of a movement that changes the world? All that is required is a shift in my concerns. What is the cultural concern of our day? Maybe establishing successful careers, raising healthy families, or even finding oneself. We will only find true and lasting success when we align our lives with God’s mission to the world. “You will be my witnesses.”
With regard to being witnesses, in my last post I said that I would let you know what happened at the art fair we attended. We conversed with a couple of artists and mentioned our former work as missionaries in Russia. Circumstances didn’t allow us to carry that conversation further, but even that was a witness to what God is doing in the world. Maybe there will be a conversation this week in which I can go farther, and ask for instance, “Has anyone ever shared with you the central message of Christianity?”
So many of us work in the marketplace, which is such a strategic platform. The relational networks are vast and the opportunities to be a witness are staggering. Let’s seize the day that the adventure, blessing, and impact of the first century church might be ours as well.