May 28, 2017
John 17:1-11
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

Living as One
Easter 7

Full installment posted Tuesday afternoon.

Dean Feldmeyer
This week’s lectionary passage from Acts describes the reaction of the disciples to Jesus’ ascension. At first they are (understandably) stupefied by what they have witnessed. But after being prodded to action by “two men in white robes” standing with them, they retreated to their quarters in Jerusalem and “constantly devot[ed] themselves to prayer.” In the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Dean Feldmeyer identifies this as a time where the disciples were engaging in team-building of a sort, strengthening their cohesion and togetherness as a unit after the departure of their mentor and leader. Dean suggests that this was one of the chief gifts conferred by the Holy Spirit on the new apostles -- one that would be vital for sustaining them in the mission they would soon take on... to be his “witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Likewise, Dean notes, the community we experience in our churches is not merely for its own benefit -- as with Jesus’ disciples, it is a crucial part of the toolkit we need to be effective witnesses for Christ in our world. Here’s a preview:

Living as One
by Dean Feldmeyer
Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11

Rarely does a group of people spontaneously come together as a cohesive unit. Cohesion is something that takes hard work, a shared vision and purpose, lots of practice, and a whole heap of prayer. Even with all that, sometimes it doesn’t happen. When it does, however, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of power that comes with the knowledge that you are part of something that is bigger, and more real, than you could ever be by yourself.

Some people experience it in sports. One example is in baseball when the ball comes to the shortstop, and without thinking he snags it and throws to the second baseman, who throws on to first for a perfectly executed double play. Or when a guard is leading a fast break down the basketball court and goes up for a layup, but instead of shooting drops the ball off, without even looking, exactly where he knows his teammate is going to be.

Some experience it in the arts, like when an ensemble of musicians or singers hits that perfect chord that sends chills up the spine or when a group of actors performs a scene so well that they can sense the electric tension running through the audience.

And sometimes we experience it in church, in the singing of hymns or in the pursuit of a mission project or in the easy camaraderie around a table during a pot-luck dinner. However we experience this gift of group cohesion, this wonderful sense of corporateness, it is not given to us for its own sake or because it makes us feel special. It is given to us so that we might have power to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves and so we can effectively spread the good news of God’s grace as it comes to us in Jesus Christ.
Full installment posted Tuesday afternoon.

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