Watching for the morning of June 1
The Seventh Sunday of Easter
This seventh Sunday in Easter looks forward to the culmination of the Easter season on Pentecost and the life of the Christian community in the world. Our reading from Acts tells of the ascension and Jesus’ command to wait for the outpouring of the Spirit that will empower the community’s mission to the ends of the earth.
The psalm sings the praise of God who comes in judgment and grace to deliver his people and bless their life in the land. The God of Sinai who led them into the land also sends the rains that sustain their life.
First Peter continues its word of encouragement reminding the community of the Spirit of God that rests upon them and urging them to resist the devil’s prowling. And Jesus prays for his band of followers that God will keep them united in Christ/God and one another.
Running through all these readings is the recognition that we do not stand before God alone, but as a people. Even our private prayers are part of a community’s shared faith and work. Our sorrows and our praises are shared. Our sufferings are part of the sufferings of Christ all over the world. The Spirit that is given is the Spirit that unites Father and Son and us with one another. Christianity is a team sport – except the goal is not the victory of one team over others, but a game where everyone plays, a song where everyone sings, a joy that everyone shares.
The Prayer for June 1, 2014
your Son Jesus prayed that his followers might be one,
even as he was one with you.
Grant us the mind of Christ
that, seeking you above all things,
we may be faithful to him who called us into your wonderful light;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
The Texts for June 1, 2014
First Reading: Acts 1:6-14
“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.” – Luke begins Book II of his account of Jesus (Acts) as he ended Book I (Luke), with the ascension. Here, the ascension is told not to accent the final exaltation of Jesus, but to anticipate the mission of Jesus through his followers.
Psalmody: Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
“Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered.” – In a hymn describing God’s victory over his enemies, we hear also about the character of God as protector of the weak and as provider of rain and bounty.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
“Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith.” – to a community facing the hostility of the larger society, the author of this letter continues his word of encouragement. Their suffering is a sharing in the sufferings of Christ, a bond they share with others throughout the empire.
Gospel: John 17:1-11
“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” – The conclusion of Jesus’ final discourses with his followers in the Gospel of John is known as the High Priestly Prayer, where Jesus prays for the community who have put their hope and trust in him, that God will protect them “that they may be one,” as he and the Father are one.