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Ascending into life

And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:23 The Feast of the Ascension dates back to at least the 4th Century but probably from much earlier. The day was once called Holy Thursday but now is nearly universally referred to as Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter, when we commemorate Christ's return to God. The above verse from Ephesians reminds us that the Church is Christ's body - imperfect and still learning - which reminds us that Christ is still with us. Ascension calls to mind the reality that Jesus is not physically here any longer but longs to be physic

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 16:9–15; Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5; John 5:1–9 A funny thing happened on the way to self–discovery: I discovered the power of Christ’s light and love and was transformed. How many times in our lives have we been on the way to do something and suddenly we realize we were here for something else? Kinda like I come downstairs to find my cell phone, forget that is what I am looking for, and then find or remember something else instead. Jesus’ disciples had this experience. They signed up for the Jesus enterprise thinking they might learn something and be part of a new order, the overthrow of the Romans, etc. What they discovered was the true Messiah, the Savior of the world, the Son of God

Looking out, not up

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” Acts 1: 11a Angels ask the disciples a very pointed question above: why do you look for the physical Jesus who is no longer here? You are to look for Jesus, the Christ, in the world now, in all that you see, know, and do. We don’t have the benefit of ever having seen the physical Jesus, in the flesh, but we do have the opportunity to see Christ in everyone and everything. We have been given the great gift of Jesus’ living: his teachings, his compassion, sacrifice, and the life of salvation in Resurrection. Now we must translate the beauty of God’s great gift in Christ by living the life of Jesus now, in the world that is today. I l

Fifth Sunday of Easter

John’s Revelation was a direct message to the seven churches and all Christians who were being persecuted that God was with them and God was more powerful than the principalities that were currently making their lives difficult and painful. Revelation is a vision of a new day, a new reality, heaven and earth coming together. it reminds me that we have, very likely, focused too much of our attention on heaven in the Christian past; the mentality that life is simply to be endured and, because life is so unsatisfying, we must look to the next life for our only comfort and hope. The Gnostics, among others, actually believed that the human body was corrupt and the spirit was longing to break free

New heaven, new earth

I have been thinking a lot about patience lately, particularly how I so often lack it. I was recently traveling from Bradley to visit family. I boarded the plane, on time, settled in, began taxing for take off before the plane stopped and we were informed that the plane would have to go back to the gate. The de-icing mechanism on the plane apparently was not functioning and we would need to de-plane and another plane would have to be brought from JFK. It was May! De-icing??!! I went to get a Sausage McMuffin (I know, I know) and a coffee and was informed they were only charging me for a SENIOR coffee (I'm only 55, I thought!). My blood pressure was beginning to rise as my phone continued to

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:36-43; Psalm 23; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30 I have been struggling with a question lately: does God really take care of us? Is God in Christ the Good Shepherd of our lives? It is easy to doubt that amidst multiple school shootings (another in CO last week), nasty politics that get us nowhere, an opioid crisis, broken relationships and shattered lives; premature death, starvation and disease. Scripture tells us that God is good. Psalm 23 highlights the ever-present nature of God, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Jesus says that His sheep know the sound of his voice. “I know them, and they follow me,” He tells us. Jay Sidebotham, executive director of RenewalWorks, which

Third Sunday of Easter

When I was a little boy my brother and I would go fishing at the aptly named Lake Small, about 300 hundred yards from our house. It was a very tiny pond. We would take a loaf of wonder bread and make little balls with it to “bait” the hooks of our little cane poles, with the plastic bobbers/corks. I remember when our neighbor, David Jung, got a “rod ‘n reel” for Christmas when we were 9 or 10, a tiny little one, but it put him into a different league: The League of Extraordinary Fishermen. My brother Mark loved to fish and still does though he rarely feeds that passion; maybe now that he is retired … but me, I was always lousy at catching anything but the teeniest, tiniest perch/brim. I wasn

Measure of our worth

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - Book of Common Prayer, p 829 At our 10:15 service this week we celebrate Youth Sunday. I am increasingly mindful of how challenging it is for anyone, particularly our younger folks, to be a follower of Jesus in the modern world. The prayer above has alway