7 Easter – Year A

Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

“Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you.” – Edward Payson Roe

This day is the Sunday after the Feast of the Ascension.  In light of that, the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles is the focal point.  We will look at that reading.

                For forty days since his Resurrection Jesus has been interacting with his followers.  We remember that in the bible forty is the symbolic number for transition.  What will this transition look like?  The apostles wonder if this is the time Jesus will restore the kingdom (Acts 1:6).  What would that look like?  Jesus says that it is not for them to know the right times God has chosen (Acts 1:7).  (See Greek below)   Then Jesus ascends out of their sight into a cloud.  This is the first part of the transition: Jesus will no longer be with them in the same way.  Then two men in white robes (angels?) ask them why they are looking up.  Jesus has been taken from them (Acts 1:11).  Of course they are looking up.  They expected Jesus himself to do the restoring of the kingdom.  Confused, they run back to their hideout, back to their tomb.  The completion of the transition will be at Pentecost when the Spirit convinces them of their own role in bringing about the kingdom.  What will that look like?  It will be like violets awakening when it is the right time after a long winter.  All this talk about the apostles is talk about us.  When will our right time be to step out in the power of the Spirit to do the work of the kingdom?  Violets at first come out looking very small, even when full grown not humongous.  That is the way God works his kingdom: by our small daily efforts.  Thus, we and the world transition and are transformed.  In small daily ways we are new people and there is a new world.

Greek

                In Acts 1:7 Jesus speaks of “seasons, periods, dates” depending on the particular translation.  The Greek word used is one that that actually has come into English in its Greek form: kairos.  Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary captures well the meaning of the word in both Greek and English: “a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action: the opportune and decisive moment.”  In other words, it is not chronological time such as 10 a.m. June 5.  It is God’s time, the right time.  We can’t schedule it.  We must simply discern it.

Haiku

My inner blossom

peaks through my hard shell to light

on God’s right time.  Now?