Bible readings & reflections
Weekly Bible Readings and Reflections
Acts 1:6-14: The disciples question Jesus about the timing of God’s restoration of Israel, but Jesus promises the Holy Spirit and then ascends into heaven as they watch. Then two white-robed men tell them that Jesus will return in the same way they saw him leave.
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35: A psalm of victory and praise, celebrating God’s might in military terms, and rejoicing in God’s protection of the weak and vulnerable, and in God’s provision of a home for God’s people.
1 Peter 5: Peter encourages the persecuted believers, reminding them that they have witnessed Christ’s suffering and share in it, and that they have the hope of seeing Christ’s glory, and sharing in that as well.
John 17:1-11: Jesus prays for himself that God will take him back into the glory he shared with the Father. Then he prays for his disciples, who have received Christ’s message and have believed and given him glory, that they may be protected by God’s name and may be one as Christ and the Father are one.
THOUGHTS FOR THIS WEEK – 7th Sunday of EASTER/ASCENSION
This week we’re living between the Ascension and Pentecost. The Scriptures love these “in-between” times, and it is often in these times that God does some of the most transforming work.
As Jesus left his disciples for the last time after the resurrection, he instructed them to wait, and promised that they would become his witnesses after they had received power. But, as Matthew’s Gospel teaches, the power and authority are Christ’s. It is always as a result of our connection with Jesus that we can share life and grace with others.
This is why we need to wait. Building a deep connection always takes time and intentional focus. If we try to move out into the world before we have become rooted in Christ’s love and life, we will inevitably find ourselves buffeted by the chaos we encounter. Then, we may end up adopting the strategies and values of the culture around us, while still claiming the name of Jesus, without realising how we have been subtly changed. But, when we make time in our lives to root ourselves deeply in Jesus, we are more easily able to remain true to the values and mission of Jesus.
This is part of what was at the heart of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples in John 17. In a similar way, in Acts, Jesus, in a cryptic, round about way, invites his disciples to give up on their hope for an earthly kingdom as home, and to recognise that God is their home.
For the Psalmist, God’s victory brings a place of safety and belonging to the most vulnerable and to God’s people. Peter encourages the believers to endure persecution because, as they share in Christ’s suffering, so they also have the hope of sharing in Christ’s glory – Christ’s home.
This week we focus on waiting on Christ’s gift of power, and on sinking our roots deep into the life of Jesus.
Blessings as we live the Resurrection through Jesus, Amen!