Thy Kingdom Come, 7th Sunday of Easter 2020

Reading: John 17:1-11

Reflection: I think our modern world has done us a disservice by taking two things away from us: mythology and the Spirit. The loss of both of these is due in large part to the Enlightenment and the reaction of faithful, but scared, Christians to the Enlightenment. First, mythology has been taken from us by the rationalists and the Deists and the literalists. Mythology, true stories that illustrate our relationship to God whose factuality is not the primary point, gives us a richer dimension to the stories we tell and the lives we live. One example is that, mythologically, Sunday isn’t just a nice day to go to church because no one has to go to work. Sunday is the day when God began to create, the day Jesus rose from the dead, and the day the Spirit descended. It is the first day of the week, but it is also the last, great day, the 8th day. Sunday, in the early church, was a day out of time. It was a day of unity of all things.

We have also lost the spiritual dimension. When we do not trust in the world beyond the hard materialism taught us by our schools, and frankly our churches, we lose the power of the incarnation that makes the bread and wine of the eucharist a sign and symbol of our unity and our mission and our self-sacrifice, and we make the wafer into an idol which we worship in place of the true Christ. It is easy to think that if only we could have the eucharist, things would be better, but when that is not realistic, we need to ask what is the Spirit inviting us to? Are we being invited to ask some hard questions about ecclesiology, worship, practice, and what it means to live as a Christian and not just to believe as a Christian?

In these months of community and eucharistic famine caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially as we prepare to open some churches, we must recall mythology and the Spirit. What are the true stories we will tell about our life with God when these days are over? Will they be stories of trust or fear? Will we say we listened to the Spirit? Will we emerge from this tomb with new life and few scars or will we just continue to lie in this tomb?

Prayer: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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