The Text – Acts 1:6-8:
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Easter 2021, in the Christian calendar, is now history. Some, confusing Easter with bunnies and eggs, put away the seasonal decorations as if this were Halloween or Father’s Day.
This meditation finishes our 40 days of Lent with an incident in the lives of the apostles. In the final conversation with Jesus, post resurrection and pre-ascension, the disciples want to know more about the arrival time of the Kingdom. Jesus did not tell them what they wanted to hear. They were still expecting to hear a kick-Rome-outta-town kind of message. But Jesus pushed that question aside and said something like “your task is to wait for the Spirit to arrive and focus on spreading the message “to the ends of the world.”
The real Easter observation has nothing to do with the syrupy celebration of candy and Easter egg hunts, but rather with the coming spread of Good News to every nation, tribe, and people. No sentimentality here! This is a totally serious message of inclusion and love.
How needed this message is today! Even if you don’t buy the message of a resurrected Jesus, the idea of embracing the whole world, with all its diversity, has to be a compelling idea. In a time when headlines tell us about a Congressman paying under-age girls for sex, a 65-year-old Asian woman being knocked down and assaulted on a NY street, and violence in general, we need to hear more about the Jesus who taught us to love even our enemies and to spread Good News to the edges of the earth.
That’s more important than Monday’s Easter egg shells.
God of resurrection and love we give thanks to you for the way in which you took up residence among us. Showing us through the person of Jesus what it looks like when humans embrace your idea of a perfect world. Human that we are, it is far too easy to forget on Monday what we celebrated on Sunday. Too easy to forget in the office or the school or the air plane that we are to be bearers of good news – not the angry, violent, and disrespectful messages we grow weary of hearing. So post-Easter, we ask you to live within us. Make us uncomfortable when be become complacent. Help us to remain optimistic when the world seems dark. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.