Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on May 26, 2014.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for keeping your promises and coming to us in many different ways. Amen.
Reading: John 17: 1-11 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Working on these First Light digital devotions over the yeasr has gotten me in a better habit of reading the Bible stories that we'll hear in church in the coming week. It has enriched my worship life, as I've taken more time to dwell on the scriptures and think about what God is saying to me.
This Sunday, we'll hear the story of the Ascension. On Thursday, we celebrate Ascension Day, and you'll get to read some of my reflections on this church festival then. Thursday, we'll read the story from another version. Today and on Sunday, we read it from the Gospel of John.
In John's account, we read, "And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." To me, that sentence help bridge the two church year seasons which we are about to cross. This Sunday, we close out our celebration of Easter. A week from Sunday, we switch gears to celebrate Pentecost. As always, Jesus gets us ready by reminding us what is coming. God will be coming to us not as a man, in the form of Jesus; but, now God will come to us as the Holy Spirit. We travel with Jesus through his birth, baptism, and ministry on earth. We experience the passion of Holy Week and the joy of the Easter resurrection. Jesus ascends to the Father and we look with anticipation for the coming down of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
As we celebrate and commemorate the Ascension this week, I am reminded that God keeps God's promises. Be on the lookout for the fulfillment of some of those promises in your life this week. --Chad Hershberger
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