It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Left Behind--to be the Church, a Reflection on Acts 1:6-14

They've witnessed the crucifixion (from a distance) and are now in the presence of the risen Jesus. What they want to know is whether he is about to restore the kingdom to Israel. I'm reading this to mean is he going to lead the overthrow of the Romans who have occupied what had been their country.

He responds, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority."

[Aside: We have recent evidence that this pronouncement is still true. See]

Although he doesn't tell them the exact time, he does assure them that the Holy Spirit will give them the power they need to be his witnesses--and that their work will not be just for their neighborhood but to the ends of the earth.

They see him ascend. While they're looking up to where he has disappeared from them, two men in white robes ask them why they're looking toward heaven. They say that Jesus will return.

In his commentary on Acts for the Interpretation series, Will Willimon says:
The response of the disciples to the instruction, reproof, and the promise is exemplary. They gather to pray...They are told to be witnesses "to the end of the earth" and their first response is prayer. The action demanded of the church is more than busyness and strenuous human effort. Disciples have been told that the promised kingdom is a gift to be given in God's own time and that the promised Spirit is also by God's grace. Their mission requires more than even their earnest striving.

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