Seventh Sunday of Easter, The Sunday after Ascension Day
May 29, 2022
First Reading: Acts 16:16-34
Second Reading: Revelations 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Gospel: John 17:20-26
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
The Ascension Day happen on Thursday and we remember that Jesus ascended into heaven, that was heaven’s affirmation that he had accomplished everything he had come to do.
In Luke’s Gospel 24: 50, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshipping him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising God.”
Gospel: John 17: 20-26
Lifting his eyes up to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
We hear the conclusion of Jesus’s great “priestly prayer,” in which he calls for unity within the church, so that Christians can witness to the presence of God in their lives.
Jesus prays for himself, then for his disciples and for those, “who will believe in me through their message” This is a prayer for all who will come later and believe in him, as Lord and Savior.
It is a prayer of intercession, an act of asking or requesting something on behalf of someone else.
When we pray at home to God our Father, for others, our family or friends, and those known and unknown to us, we are interceding on their behalf. And as we pray and it involves talking and listening to God.
Jesus “I have given them that glory which you gave me.” These are powerful words when you think about the fact that Jesus is saying: The love that he and his Father have for each other, is what He wants for us.
This gospel of John… it portrays a prayer of Jesus, as he addresses his Father, it takes place before his betrayal and crucifixion, theses’ events refer to as his “glorification”.
The disciples are about to experience great trauma at Jesus’ death. They have failed to understand. They expect a Messiah of worldly power, like King David and have not been able to grasp the very different person of Jesus’ and his ministry.
Jesus gives a final testimony prayer for his beloved followers and all that come after them, the future believers.
Jesus prays, “that they may all be one; even as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me”
In this prayer for the disciples, he prays for unity and indwelling of divine presence that will challenge the world to believe. I like to think of it as a Divine unity! But are we?
Because of our Faith, we believe in things that we cannot see. God’s love is rooted and grounded in our beliefs.
The love then… can only come, as we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit; as we allow ourselves to be filled, we know and experience God’s love for us. And we are filled so much with the Holy Spirit, that everyone will see the love that God has for us and them.
Our intercession prayer today, where we what to intercede on behalf of others, where we cry out for mercy, where we cry for more of God’s love, then hate and for God to comfort the families and friends in Uvalda, Tx and Buffalo, Ny.
On this Ascension Sunday, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany and he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
Let me leave you with part of his prayer: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Rev. Lola Culbreath