The Seventh Sunday of Easter: Year A

The Holy Spirit empowers the Church

  • Acts of the Apostles 1:6-14
  • Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36
  • 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
  • John 17:1-11

In the days between Ascension and Pentecost, we gather with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the Spirit to transform the church around the world. In today’s gospel Jesus prays for his followers and for their mission in his name. Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with his Father. Made one in baptism, we go forth to live our faith in the world., eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.

Throughout the Bible, clouds are a sign of God’s presence: Moses on the mountain receiving the covenant, Jesus’ transfiguration, and now his ascension. But in our lives clouds often represent trouble – they accompany storms, forest fires, bombs, and violence. Steven Curtis Chapman sings of this apparent contradiction in “Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds.” 

On an airplane, turbulence can have many causes, but a primary one is flying into or out of clouds. In 1 Peter 4, the writer says we should expect some turbulence – and being in the clouds, in God’s presence, isn’t necessarily going to prevent that. In fact, it may even cause it! In a chapter entitled, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, 1999: Pantheon, pp. 59-67) Anne Lamott describes a flight with plenty of atmospheric and situational turbulence. While her faith doesn’t enable her to escape this turbulence, it helps her to recognize the tiny miracles that occur in the tumult.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How is the total life and ministry of Jesus expressed in the below prayer?
  • The words “glory” and “glorify” are used several times in the Gospel as well as the Epistle (1 Peter 4:12-14). How are we called to glorify God in our own lives?
  • As you look at all the readings for today, what promises and reassurances are offered for the followers of Jesus?
  • Where is there turbulence in your life? What gives you reassurance or a sense of calm? How does turbulence keep you aware of your thoughts, feelings, and awareness of the world around you?

The text for this Sunday might be called a “Prayer of Consecration” for the church. The Body of Christ becomes a living sacrament to the world, an “outward and visible sign” of Christ’s redeeming presences in history. This is how the Risen Christ will be known in the generations to come:

The words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me . . . And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. (John 17:8, 11)

About Sharon Ely Pearson

Wife, mom, grandmother; author, educator, consultant; trying to make a difference one action at a time. Christian formation has been my vocation for 40+ years - and counting!
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