Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). It is very peculiar that of all the Gospel accounts, the witness of Luke-Acts is the only one that dwells on the ascension of the Lord. Commentator Sean White points out that, in the Lukan account, the ascension is “the revelatory moment beyond which the disciples are never the same;”
“To our twenty-first–century minds, it may be tempting to dismiss the record of one ascending into the abyss of space, as if God somehow dwells “out there” beyond the vast astronomical expanse. However, lest we forget, even the earliest disciples were trapped in their own understanding of time, space, and the kingdom of God.
In Acts 1:3, Jesus spends forty days teaching them about the reign of God, yet they still misunderstand. Only after the ascension and their peculiar experience with the absent and yet ever–present Lord are their conceptions of time and space transformed… Out of their experience with the risen and ascended Christ, the substance of the Christian kerygma takes shape.”
Kerygma is the Greek word meaning the content of what is being preached, or the message – in this case specifically proclamation of the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Another Greek word often used in conjunction with it is koinonia, meaning fellowship or an intentional community together. Hand in hand, these two words march us onward as we seek to make sense of what has been handed down to us as Gospel and how we might appropriate the content of Jesus’ message into our contemporary fellowship.
How do we take the teachings handed down to us, contextualize them for our setting in the world in which we find ourselves today, and appropriate the true meaning of Christ for us in the midst of our pluralistic position within the on-going history of humankind? It could be argued the core take-away, if you will, is appropriating the Jesus message so deeply into our own beings that we in turn become more and more Christ-like for others. But does this matter? Can’t we all just be “good people?”
Our ever-increasing global interconnections are ensuring cultural cross-pollination. Each of the major faiths of the world are at the cusp of change as each seeks to contextualize the witness of their faiths to a global multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multi-economic, and multi-cultural world, just to name a few. What will the next expression of our faith look like? I do not know, but I am convinced the Holy Spirit is still at work, speaking to us if we but have the ears to hear it. Personally, I am not so sure I am very good at listening yet. Life can be so distracting.
Granted our divine parent is there waiting patiently for us to grow our relationship, but earthly parenting, family and extended family relationships, work relationships and social relationships are all demanding time as well, again just to name a few.
What is the true meaning of Christ for us today? Within the various fellowship or koinonia groups we are members of, we each have the opportunity as role models and teachers to enact the kerygma, or message of Christ. What does it mean that we are members of the reign of God? What does it mean to walk ablaze with the Holy Spirit guiding us in these days and times? What kind of witness do we express daily to children, spouses, co-workers, friends, neighbors, store clerks, hikers, or whomever we meet? And what is the content of the witness of our lives – our “enacted preaching” if you will?
“The good news for those left standing on that Judean hillside is that Jesus not only comes from God, he returns to God. This is the true scope of movement for followers of the Way—we come from God, we return to God. The challenge in the meantime is to keep our lives centered on God, rooted and grounded in God, allowing God to be the one in whom we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), here and now, on this earth.”
Let us pray:
O Lord help me to be the witness you want me to be, to find the words you want me to speak; to open my ears to hear your voice, and to open the eyes of Christ to see any around me in need of your love; more than that help me to enact that love in service to your own.
May all glory be unto the One who lived, died, and rose again for us, even him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.
 White, Sean A. Feasting on the Word—Year A David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, General Editors. Copyright © 2010 Westminster John Knox Press; Louisville, Kentucky; All rights reserved. Used by permission. Accordance edition hyper-texted and formatted by OakTree Software, Inc. Version 2.0
Questions for Reflection
The risen and ascended Christ promises to send us power from on high. How do I use such “soul force” to bring forgiveness, blessing, and love to others?
Household Prayer: Morning
Holy God, I give thanks this day that your Son ascends in the core of my being as new life arises in me. Open the eyes of my heart this day to seek and serve you in all whom I meet. Amen.
Household Prayer: Evening
I repent of the wrongs I have done this day, and seek forgiveness by the grace of your love. Clothe me with power on high this night that my life may rest hidden in you. Amen.