One Little Word

Where God's Word Meets God's World

Category: Devotional Messages (page 1 of 38)

Weekly Devotional Message

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 13A (August 3, 2014)

Isaiah 55:1-5
Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21 (16)
Romans 9:1-5
St. Matthew 14:13-21

Semicontinuous Series
Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 17:1-7, 15 (15)

Prayer of the Day
Glorious God, your generosity waters the world with goodness, and you cover creation with abundance. Awaken in us a hunger for the food that satisfies both body and spirit, and with this food fill all the starving world; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


14:13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

St. Matthew 14:13-21. New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Scarcity and Abundance

The disciples are faced with an overwhelming dilemma. They are in the wilderness, listening to Jesus preach and teach, and observing as he heals those who are sick. Quite a crowd has gathered. St. Luke records that there are about 5,000 men, besides women and children. This is one of the largest groups, ever, to gather with Jesus in Biblical times.

It is the end of the day, the disciples know the people will soon be hungry, so they advise Jesus to dismiss the crowds, allowing them to go and eat, but Jesus has something else in mind. He directs the disciples to feed them.

You can almost imagine what is running through the disciples’ minds as they look out over the vast crowd, and then back to the basket that holds the two fish and five loaves they have been able to pull together. There is hardly enough to feed the twelve of them and Jesus. How in the world does he expect to feed a crowd that includes 5,000 men? No reasonable person could disagree with the assessment that there just isn’t enough. Continue reading

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 12A (July 27, 2014)

1 Kings 3:5-12
Psalm 119:129-136 (130)
Romans 8:26-39
St. Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Semicontinuous Series
Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b (1, 45)
or Psalm 128 (1)2

Prayer of the Day
Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


13:31 [Jesus] put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

St. Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

The New and the Old

I have long been a history fan, and admire those whose understanding of events past runs deep. I used to love hearing Professor Tim Lull discuss Luther and his time. His grasp of Luther’s life, ministry and theology was powerful, and he would share those old stories with us in a way that made us wish we had lived in those times. Likewise Shelby Foote, in the “Civil War” series presented by PBS years ago, seemed to make the past present again when he spoke of how our nation evolved during those tumultuous years. I love learning from a good historian. They teach us about our past in a way that helps us live more wisely in the present.

I also enjoy learning from those who have insights into what the future holds. Whether it is in congregational ministry, political science or economics, there are those who seem to know where events are leading us; people who can provide insights into what might make for a strong future. They help us shape our present in a way that allows us to most effectively address the future.

In this weekend’s Gospel lesson Jesus teaches us that both of these viewpoints are essential if we are to be about the work of God’s kingdom in a way that truly makes a difference. God’s people sometimes find themselves polarized, with some claiming that faithfulness is all about being true to our past, while others claim that adapting to the present and preparing for the future is our primary task. Jesus teaches us that “every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Faithfulness has to do with living amidst the interchange between the ancient word handed down from our ancestors and the creative insights about where God’s future is leading us.

Beverley R. Gaventa, Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, writes these words:

Not every new wind is a Nor’easter that will shake the church’s very foundations. Neither is every stone in the foundation the makings for a prison. Both the new and the old belong in the householder’s treasure. Both the new and the old may serve the church. Both the new and the old may reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Both the New and the Old” from Christian Century, June 30-July 7, 1993, page 669.

She reminds us that whether we are embracing that which is old, or experiencing that which is new, it is important to measure them both against what we know about God in Jesus Christ. How do our traditions (and our traditional beliefs) point us to the one who died and rose on our behalf? How do new insights (or new beliefs) draw us into those things that mattered most to Jesus?

May we be faithful in asking just such questions together.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Text:

  1. What do these parables teach us about the kingdom of heaven?
  2. Are the images Jesus uses here old images or new images?
  3. What new insights does he provide into God’s kingdom?

Connecting with This Week’s Text:

  1. What aspects of our (Christian or Lutheran) tradition are most meaningful to me?
  2. What new ways of being God’s people have stirred me most deeply?
  3. How have the old and the new worked together to help me better know God

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 11A (July 20, 2014)

Isaiah 44:6-8 or Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Psalm 86:11-17 (11)
Romans 8:12-25
St. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Semicontinuous Series
Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 (1)

Prayer of the Day
Faithful God, most merciful judge, you care for your children with firmness and compassion. By your Spirit nurture us who live in your kingdom, that we may be rooted in the way of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


13:24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

13:36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

St. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Of Weeds and Wheat

If only it was that simple!

There is a lot that is wrong with the way our world is these days. Violent weather patterns devastate communities, and send families scrambling to restore their lives. Warfare tears at countries, and uninvolved citizens often pay the highest price. Vulnerable children show up in our country because their parents made a poor decision (most likely based on untruthful information). Disease takes loved ones away from us long before they have lived a full life. It makes a person want to respond with a show of force, and destroy all that takes away from life as we know it — or life as we wish it was.

But the truth is, we live in a broken world. We live in a weeds-among-the-wheat world. And one sign of this brokenness is that it’s not always evident which is which. As the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are currently demonstrating, you can’t just lob bombs across the border and hope to do away with those who mean you harm. The weeds are sown among the wheat, and bombs are just as deadly for unarmed civilians as they are for armed combatants. Continue reading

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 10A (July 13, 2014)

Isaiah 55:10-13
Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-13 (11)
Romans 8:1-11
St. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Semicontinuous Series
Genesis 25:19-34
Psalm 119:105-112 (105)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, live according to it, and grow in faith and hope and love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

13:18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

St. Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Sowers of Seed

I don’t know much about farming, but I understand that it has changed quite a bit since the 1950s when my Uncle Philip used to crank up an old John Deer tractor and head out into his 160 acres pulling a plow. I once read about a farmer in Iowa who has his combine hooked up to a laptop computer and a GPS tracking system. As he navigates through his fields, this setup creates a picture for him on a computer monitor of the yield he gets on the various sections of his field. After several seasons he can see which sections produce well and then judge how to most efficiently plant, fertilize and harvest the field. Then, the next Spring, he plugs that same information into his planter, and throughout the entire field he distributes just the right amount of seed in each section.

Continue reading

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 9A (July 6, 2014)

Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm 145:8-14 (8)
Romans 7:15-25a
St. Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Semicontinuous Series
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Psalm 45:10-17 (7)
or Song of Solomon 2:8-13

Prayer of the Day
You are great, O God, and greatly to be praised. You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Grant that we may believe in you, call upon you, know you, and serve you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.


11:16 “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17 ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

St. Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Can There Possibly Be Rest for Our Souls

We live in busy times. Distracted driving is a problem in our society. Automobile operators imagine there is so much to do, that it makes no sense to carve out time to focus, exclusively, on driving. During the morning commute it is not unusual to observe drivers talking on their phones, sending texts, eating breakfast, and combing their hair or applying their makeup. Google “distracted driving” and you’ll get more than 3.7 million results in 0.30 seconds (including this image). Googling “distracted driving pledge” will produce more than 1.5 million results — maybe we all ought to follow one of those links, and challenge ourselves to become safer drivers.

Distracted living is also a problem. It seems that every new opportunity (and every new technological innovation!) makes us just a bit busier than we were the day before it arrived. When the electric clothes washing machine became available commercially in the 1930s, people imagined how much time it would free up for them. In reality, no time was saved. People just adopted the expectation that they have clean clothing every day, instead of once a week. As a leader in a faith community, I have wondered if participating in the life of our congregation makes life busier, more challenging, or more frustrating for already-too-busy people. Continue reading

The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 8A (June 29, 2014)

Jeremiah 28:5-9
Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18 (1)
Romans 6:12-23
Matthew 10:40-42

Semicontinuous Series:
Jeremiah 23:1-6
St. Luke 1:68-79 (69)

Prayer of the Day:
O God, you direct our lives by your grace, and your words of justice and mercy reshape the world. Mold us into a people who welcome your word and serve one another, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

10:40 [Jesus said,] “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

St. Matthew 10:40-42 New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

A Cup of Cold Water

I was having coffee with a friend the other day. As we visited, we watched a man in a wheelchair struggle with a fairly large package. It was balanced on one arm of the chair, while he used the other arm to propel himself across the parking lot. He was rounding a row of cars, presumably heading towards his own car, when the package caught the rear end of another vehicle, and crashed to the ground. He repositioned his wheelchair, leveraged himself against a curb, and tried to get the package back up on the arm of the chair, but just wasn’t able.

As we sat there, wondering if we should get up and help, someone beat us to the punch. An elderly lady, with packages of her own, walked over to him and struck up a conversation. After a few moments, she placed her packages in his lap, helped him ease his own back onto the arm of the wheelchair. The two of them then continued around the corner, out of our sight. Continue reading

The 2nd Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 7A (June 22, 2014)

Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18 (16)
Romans 6:1b-11
St. Matthew 10:24-39

Semicontinuous Series:
Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 (16)

Prayer of the Day:
Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

10.24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

St. Matthew 10:24-39 New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

The Feast of the Holy Trinity

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
2nd Corinthians 13:11-13
St. Matthew 28:16-20

Prayer of the Day:
God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

28.16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

St. Matthew 28:16-20, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Ever Three and Ever One

As I write this devotional message, I am sitting in the meadow at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, in Hillside, Colorado. We are just below Eagle Peak (which some of our campers will attempt to ascend today), at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, looking across the valley towards the Wet Mountains, and it is a spectacular day. Light clouds dot the blue sky. Snow is visible on western slope of Pike’s Peak. The cacophony of birds calling causes me to wish I knew more about identifying birds by their calls. A light breeze makes its way through the pines. A small creek gurgles in distance (no small distraction for this fly fisherman…). The occasional sound of Middle School laughter makes its way to my ear. In a setting like this, it is easy to be inspired by creation, and for those of us who call ourselves Christian: in the creating work of our God. We live in a world that has been created good by our God; a world able to sustain and delight those who live within it. Both are in evidence today here in the meadow. I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Continue reading

The Feast of Pentecost (June 8, 2014)

Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1st Corinthians 12:3b-13
St. John 20: 19-23

Prayer of the Day:
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as you sent upon the disciples the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, look upon your Church and open our hearts to the power of the Spirit. Kindle in us the fire of your love, and strengthen our lives for service in your kingdom; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

2.1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”

Acts 2:1-21, New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

The Holy Spirit Has Called Me

I am a Lutheran. I don’t worship Martin Luther. He was a sinner, and a fallible human being. There were a number of things he said and did that I don’t like – and some that he himself probably regretted. But I do appreciate the insights he had into this faith that we share. And I am convinced that God was working through him to renew the church in his day – and in ours too.

In my office, there is a fifty-six volume set of his writings. I pull one of them out occasionally to read one of Luther’s sermons or lectures or letters or treatises. I enjoy reading these, and from time to time am inspired by his writing. But the work of his that I most cherish is a small, thirty-two page pamphlet called “Luther’s Small Catechism.” It is an instructional tool, intended to help parents teach their children about the faith. Continue reading

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (June 1, 2014)

Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
1st Peter 4:12-17, 5:6-11
St. John 17:1-11

Prayer of the Day
O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful prsence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forver. Amen.

1.6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

The Acts of the Apostles 1:6-14, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.


You Will Be My Witnesses

It was a roller-coaster ride for those disciples of Jesus. Early on he seemed to be a wise and insightful rabbi. Eventually the miracles and healings reveal that he is far more than this. Towards the end, they begin to suspect that he is the Messiah: the Christ of God. Holy Week, and his humiliating death on a cross between two criminals, are experiences that crush their hopes. But come Sunday morning, in an unexpected turn of events, it is reported that he has come back to life. Eventually he is standing in front of them, raised from the dead, and poised to fulfill his role as the restorer of God’s kingdom. They are ecstatic with anticipation. Perhaps he is the Messiah. Perhaps God has sent him to institute a new order on earth. Perhaps they have been fortunately born; present on earth at the exact time when the Messiah comes to the people of God who have been waiting for so many years. Continue reading

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