Easter 7 strands as a bridge between the Ascension of our Lord – His return back to the Father’s right hand and the sending of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
Today’s reading comes from Acts 1:12—26 – Christians in the world pray for the Spirit.
At His ascension, Jesus promised to send the Spirit to the disciples. The risen Lord meets with His eleven disciples a short distance from Jerusalem where before ascending to His Father, He promises them the Spirit who will give them power to witness throughout the world. Then they returned to an upper room in Jerusalem to pray. With the disciples are Jesus’ brothers and mother. This is Mary’s last appearance in the New Testament — she is seen among the first Christians praying and waiting for the Spirit.
The apostolic witness of Jesus’ cross and resurrection gathers disciples together “with one accord” into the one Body of Christ; “Devoting themselves to prayer.” They wait upon the Lord in “the upper room” the very place of His Holy Supper.
Interesting, the last mention of Joseph (Jesus’ earthly guardian) we find in Scripture is in the temple when Jesus was twelve years old. The last reference concerning Mary is mentioned here. Both Joseph and his bride Mary find themselves engaged in worship. Both find themselves in a sacred space, worshipping together with fellow believers.
For seven consecutive weeks we were sheltered –in-place. Public worship was limited to virtual services. We can be thankful for the advances in technology allowing us to listen in on live radio broadcasts and viewing a live-stream of the worship service. And we rejoice in the number of views each service receives. We received 1,100 views of our Easter Festival service on our parish FacebookTM page which is incredible. This indicates there is a hunger to hear and receive Christ’s word of forgiveness and life.
Slowly we have opened out worship space practicing social distancing, limiting the number of persons allowed to be present at one time. Persons sixty-five and older and those with pre-existing or weakened health conditions have been asked at this present time to stay at home.
While we look forward to that time when we can worship together we must take into account each person’s family situation differs, especially as it concerns their health and safety.
We are given to serve both faithfully and responsibly in loving service and care for souls and the health and safety of our members and our neighbors in the world.
These reflections are being written to help you along your faith journey. We understand that all may not, at this time, be joining us. All are free in Christ to keep to themselves and remain at home without guilt or judgment.
As the body of Christ we stand ready to serve. To that end spend each day with your Savior in prayer. Reach out to your sisters and brothers in Christ. Attend to the needs of others as you are able. Assist as you can. Serve others as Christ has cared for you.
Merciful God, hear our fervent prayer for all who suffer from the corona-virus. May those who are infected receive the proper treatment and the comfort of Your healing presence. Look with compassion on all who suffer because of this pandemic; relieve the pain of the sick; give strength to those who care for them. May their caregivers, families and neighbors be shielded from the onslaught of this disease.
Give solace to those who grieve the loss of loved ones. Protect and guide those who strive to find a cure, that their work may conquer the disease and restore communities to wholeness and health. Help us to rise above fear. We ask all this through the merits and mercies of Christ our Savior.
Grant, Lord, that the course of this world may be so governed by Your direction that Your church may rejoice in serving You in godly peace and quietness;