May 11, 2018
This Sunday is an unusual Sunday in the church year.
To quote Inigo Montoya, "Let me explain. No -- there is too much. Let me sum up."
As you know, the church year
starts in Advent, and that's a four-week season of joyfully anticipating
Christmas Day, when we celebrate the incarnation (taking-on-of-flesh) of God in the birth of Jesus, and we celebrate God's presence among us in the person of Jesus....
during the 12-day season of Christmas, ending on...
Epiphany, when God's presence among us in the person of Jesus is revealed to the wider world, symbolized by the visit of the Magi, and the season of Epiphany ends with
Ash Wednesday and the beginning of
the 40-day season of Lent, which ends with...
Holy Week's observances of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, when we commemorate God's presence among us in the person of Jesus being betrayed, crucified, and dying...which brings us to...
Easter Sunday, a celebration of God's resurrecting Jesus in bodily form and being among us again in resurrected bodily form
for a 40-day period, ending with...
Ascension Day, which falls on the 40th day of Easter, a day on which we commemorate Jesus' bodily ascension into the heavenlies...
then there's usually the 7th Sunday of Easter -- which is this Sunday* -- and then Easter Season ends with...
The Day of Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday, and is a celebration of the day God sent Holy Spirit to us, which starts...
the long season of Pentecost, when we learn how we, filled with Holy Spirit, continue being the Body of Christ on earth in our everyday lives, a season which runs all Summer and Fall ends with..
...and we start all over!
The reason I had to kind of geek out on the church year there was to show why *this Sunday is unusual.
In the church year, this is a Sunday AFTER Jesus' being among us in resurrected bodily form -- he's ascended into the heavenlies -- but it is BEFORE Holy Spirit has been sent to us.
Freeze-frame this moment in the church year, and it's a time when we no longer know (can't see, touch, eat with, listen to) God in Jesus in person any more, but we don't yet know (haven't yet experienced) God in the coming of Holy Spirit.
Which is why the Collect for this Sunday is so great. It captures the past, present, and future sense of this Sunday so concisely:
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Or as the Eucharistic prayer puts it,
We remember his death; we proclaim his resurrection, we await his coming in glory.
God is a god of not only the past, but of the present, and of the future.
And that means ours is a past, present, and future faith!
See you Sunday,