The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Into the Presence

We have just finished spending sixteen days with St. Mark's snapshot of Jesus' life and ministry. I have been focusing on the emotions of the followers of Jesus, the crowd and the religious leaders. Today we move into the story of the early church as recorded in what is titled, The Acts of the Apostles. Many biblical scholars have suggested that this book of the Bible should be more correctly titled, The Acts of the Holy Spirit.

When we left Mark's Gospel, the followers of Jesus were in fear, anxiety and shock. What happened at the tomb? It was empty. They had been told that Jesus was risen. He was alive.

St. Luke begins his story of the early church with the final day of Jesus' life on earth. The anxiety of the followers of Jesus is evident throughout this record: What about your reign on earth? (Did we misunderstand the Messianic hope?") Looking at the sky as Jesus ascended, Is this the end of the story? (Will we ever see Jesus again?) Who will replace Judas, the traitor, who has just committed suicide? (We have to have 12 men, you know! Eleven will not do!)

The promised hope is the presence of God in the world and, particularly, in the lives of the followers of Jesus. Jesus may not be physically in our presence, yet, God is always with us. With the promise and reality of the Presence comes responsibility: the responsibility to keep the message of Jesus alive in the world.

If we say we are followers of Jesus, how are we doing in keeping the message alive? Or are we still stuck in anxiety and fear? Embrace the Presence.

Ronald Friesen (c) 2015

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