WORSHIP TOGETHER | Sunday 5-16-2021

May 10, 2021 | General Presbyter & Stated Clerk, Worship Together, Worship Together Front Page

Sunday, May 16, 2021 – Seventh Sunday of Easter

The lectionary passages are:
– First Reading: Acts 1:15-17, 21-21
– Psalm 1:1-6
– Second Reading: I John 5:9-13
– Gospel Reading: John 17:6-19

Ascension of the Lord texts:
– First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
– Psalm 47:1-9 or Psalm 93:1-5
– Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
– Gospel Reading: Luke 24:44-53

The liturgical color for the day is: White

It is appropriate to preach from the given texts for the 7th Sunday of Easter or use the texts from the Ascension of the Lord.

The Ascension of the Lord is one of the festival days that occurs on the liturgical calendar that does not fall on a Sunday.  The day has been on the liturgical calendar since the 4th century, and by tradition the day has been celebrated on the 40th day of Easter—this year that falls on Thursday, May 13, 2021.  (Recall that the season of Easter lasts 50 days.)

The dynamic movements in the story of the ascension are worth noting and could form the outline of a sermon.  Notice what happens: 1. Jesus is blessing the disciples out on the high mountain where he has taken them.  He continues to bless them even as he his ascended.  2. The disciples’ response was worship.  There on the mountain they worshiped him.   3. They returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

From blessing to worship to great joy—those movements are gifts to us.  Just at that moment when we don’t feel any joy…when we can be about to pull our hair out in frustration…or when the blahs come along (at over a year of pandemic, the blahs are real)…stop.  Here is what we are to do—stop right in our tracks.  Lift up your head.  Lift it up.  Look up.  See that Jesus is blessing you.

In the Gospel Reading for the 7th Sunday of Easter we hear Jesus, in the High Priestly Prayer.  The very end of that reading feels so appropriate for our context now.  The theme there is truth.  We are in a most interesting moment in the life of the church in our context where we have needed to be the teller of truth and the ones holding truth up for the larger culture in a way that we have not in our memory.  With such truth we are sent into the world, that we might bless it with the love the risen and ascended Christ.

Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter and Stated Clerk

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