Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does Easter End Acts 1:1-11 Luke 24:44-53

Luke and Acts together tell the story of Jesus' followers becoming the church. The key moment when one act ends and another act is happens in Acts 1:1-11 Luke 24:44-53. The risen Jesus gathered together with his friends. He gave them instructions and then lifted up his hands to bless them. And as Jesus blessed them His Body was take up into Heaven. As Jesus rose the disciples looked up towards heaven most likely with their eyes and mouths wide open. And just then two men in white robes asked one of the funniest questions in the New Testament,

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken
up from you into heaven, come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:11 ESV
The next act in the drama starts as Jesus followers figure out what do next in Acts 1:12-28:31.
The story sure changes in focus from Easter to the beginning of the church but we should ponder: Does Easter end?
A few years ago the poet Herb Brokering answered this question in the hymn Alleluia! Jesus is Risen with these words "City of God, Easter forever, golden Jerusalem, Jesus the Lamb." Seamlessly Brokering connects Jesus rising with the promised New Jerusalem foretold at the end of Revelation.
If Brokering is right Easter doesn't end. It's only just begun and we will see it come to fullness in the day when Jesus the Lamb sits enthroned in the new city. Funny thing is that many churches, but by no means all are about to come to the end of the "Easter Season." To be faithful to scripture our entire church year from the seasons of Advent to the time after Pentecost must all be about Easter.
In my own case my religious and even biblical imagination is shaped by these human created seasons of the church year. Reading the story of Jesus rising every year and mixing in accounts of his post resurrection appearances can really shape our understanding of Jesus story. But the best news of all is that Easter has no end and that we can retell the story at any time of year.

No comments: