Thursday, May 17, 2018

May 17 - 7th Week of Easter - Thursday


+ The readings today are charged with emotion. Paul, himself, a Pharisee, in his meeting with a convocation of Pharisees and Sadducees, got right to the heart of the matter: telling the group of his Pharisaical lineage, and then dropping the line that he knew would cause a fruckus, and it did! – addressing the Pharisees he said: “It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And, bingo, “a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees. After a time of heated debate, scribes from the Pharisee party stood up and protested strongly, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?” Then, Paul has to be taken from the meeting by military escort. But then, the next night the Lord appeared to him and said: “Courage, Paul! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.”

And so Paul continued on his missionary journey: proclaiming the Risen Lord Jesus – and encountering opposition the whole way. It should not surprise us that when we witness on behalf of the Risen Lord Jesus, who will return and judge us on our acceptance of him, and our way of life based on the belief and acceptance, that we too will encounter opposition from those who simply will not ever concede and become candidates of a real conversion that will save their eternal necks. All we can do it speak out with words and deeds, and it is up to the Holy Spirit of God to do the rest.

And what is the bottom line of the Gospel message: Jesus explains this again in the gospel passage: to live united in the heart of God forever, as his friends, as his children, as his special possessions: filled to overflowing with joy and peace – and living not a boring life – but an amazing newness of real life, with our bodies restored, and the ability to do anything we want to do, and never get tired, never get hungry, never have another pain, never have grief again. And, now I say, who would not want that! Eternal life in the new earth is to be looked forward to, and not feared! This is Jesus’ point – and this is the point we must ceaselessly try to convey to everyone we meet up with every day!

Courage, we must take courage, and all the rest of the gifts of the Gift of God whose coming we will remember and celebrate on Sunday – Pentecost Day! And then make a difference in our own simple, uncomplicated, unique way!

Amen.

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