Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for June 21st, 2019


Acts 1:1-3: The Promise

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Promise of Peace: Isaiah 40 – 48

It seems that a half-dozen times or so each year we look at the book of Acts to see how the formation of the church began in those very early days.  At first, the risen Jesus meets with his followers and holds them together with his physical presence.  After his ascension, Jesus holds his church together with the promise of the Father about which they had heard him speak in Luke 24:49, the gift of the Holy Spirit was to come to them on the Feast of the Pentecost.

In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost also called the Feast of Weeks and it is the second of three holy celebrations: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  Passover, of course, celebrates the Hebrew exodus from slavery to a promised land with Moses as their leader and Yahweh providing providential care.  Tabernacles – also called the Feast of Booths – is a joyful celebration in the fall of the year for the harvest gifts of the threshing floor and the wine press at the end of the season.  Celebrants are required to “dwell in booths,” or tents as a commemoration of their desert pilgrimage and God’s protection during their years of wandering.  (Achetemeier 1088)  Pentecost was a celebration of early or first fruits, the yield from the first harvest of the season.  It is fitting, when we think of this, that the Holy Spirit arrives as a first yielding of many gifts to be received by the followers of Christ.  It is fitting that we reflect on all of this today, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, two men whose lives were poured out for the formation of Christ’s church.

Paul writes to a disciple, Timothy:  I . . . am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4)  He writes to the Philippians:  Hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.  In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.  (Philippians 2)

When Jesus asks Peter: Who do you say that I am?  Peter replies: You are the Christ, the son of the living God.  (Matthew 16)  Peter writes: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 2)

The early apostles were present for the first harvest of the church and the work of this reaping is not complete; we continue to labor in this same promise.  Any trials we endure today become tools of our own discipline when we turn our work over to God.  Evidence of fruits from our labor in this vineyard are little miracles that call us to keep faith, that urge us to become one of the living stones in the living temple of Christ.  When we feel ourselves poured out as libations on the altars of our lives, we also know that we are making our exodus to the Promised Land; we too, are precious and chosen children of God; we too, are held by the promise of the Father. 


Image from: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 1088. Print.

Written on June 29, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on The Promise of Peace in Isaiah, click on the image above or go to: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

For more on the Feast of Booths go to: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14185-tabernacles-feast-ofor http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: