You can see all the lectionary readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss only the First Lesson reading from the book of Acts.
In the Acts story, we learn about Christ’s ascension. It’s a lovely way to end the Easter season and lead up to Pentecost next week.
The apostles were together with Jesus and they asked him if it was now time for him to give the people of Israel a kingdom again. Jesus told them only the Father knew dates and times and it wasn’t for them to know, but then he promised them the Holy Spirit would come and give them power and that they would carry his message around the world.
Then after he said that, he was lifted up into the sky. As they watched, he went into a cloud and they couldn’t see him anymore. I think this is a beautiful image of him the risen Lord now rising away from them. While they stared at the now empty sky, two men in white suddenly appeared and said, “Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.” They can’t spend life staring at the sky but need to get on with things (I know some people who are so obsessed with Jesus’ return that it seems they are always looking into the sky instead of getting on with things).
The story goes on to say that they went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and were all together with other followers, constantly praying.
As I said above, I think it’s helpful this week to close out the Easter season—review what happened on Good Friday and then on Easter, review the stories of how Jesus visited people for 40 days before ascending to Heaven. Then next week is Pentecost, when he sent the Holy Spirit to be with his followers and the Spirit continues with us today. Though he is in Heaven, Jesus is with us all the time and the Holy Spirit guides us (as it says in our creed).