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Year A, Easter 7, 2017 – Witness

May 24, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Easter

Greetings!! We’re glad you’re back with us! Sometimes, we can find a common theme running through the passages for the week easily. I’m finding myself searching this week. I feel like I do when I just know my car keys are near me but danged if I can find them. I do find them once I stop trying to look, and like magic, they appear! Well, okay; what really happens is I stop stressing and try to think where I saw them last. So….. in the Acts passage, the last time the disciples see Jesus, he is being enveloped by a cloud, which leaves them standing around agape. In the Gospel, Jesus is seen praying to God on behalf of his friends, encouraging them to remain in him and to remember what they have learned. The author of 1 Peter reminds the faithful that the struggles they endure should not come as a surprise but should even be expected because they are following the same path as Jesus who suffered. The connection seems to be witness; Jesus gives thanks for the words given to him that he then passes on to his disciples. The disciples then witness Jesus ascend. Years later, disciples suffer for the faithful witness they bear on behalf of Jesus. Huh, I seem to have found the keys! Let’s hop in the car and go for a ride!


This week’s texts are:  

Acts 1:6-11 [01:59] 

Here is the Bible story that provides this line from the Apostles’ Creed: “… he ascended into heaven.” It goes by pretty quick and if you are – like me – sometimes running on automatic pilot, Jesus going back home to God barely registers. Luke suggests it is the Ascension that allows for the acts of the apostles, specifically the arrival of the Spirit. As the passage opens, the disciples are still thinking about the world prior to the crucifixion and resurrection, which made David think about a song from Jesus Christ Superstar. We have a link below in MUSIC smart. I wondered what the cloud that took Jesus away from them looked like – we have some links in NATURE smart. Jesus is much more interested in what the disciples will do once the Spirit comes and is looking forward to that introduction, which we ponder in PEOPLE smart.


1Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 [09:58] 

The first letter of Peter spends a lot of time encouraging disciples who are struggling with the consequences of their witness to Jesus Christ. As this passage opens, the author reminds them that by following after him, they cannot be surprised that they suffer for their witness because Jesus suffered for his witness. In MATH smart we look at the logic of this argument. Just as Jesus was supported and strengthened by God, disciples will also be given what they need to continue – we have a sports illustration in BODY smart. Verse seven ends with the statement that God cares for us, which made me go looking for a song using those words for MUSIC smart. Finally, the roaring lion that seeks to devour got our NATURE smart pinging.


John 17:1-11 [20:27] 

These verses are the beginning of the High Priestly Prayer Jesus offers up to God on behalf of his disciples. It is a lot like the pastoral prayer in worship; the leader is speaking to God but also aware that the congregation is listening. Jesus mentions the words given to him by God that he now has given to his disciples, and we have an idea for a Special Effect in WORD smart that we suggested for the Acts passage that could work here, too. In EYE smart, Jesus seems to be doing the opposite of helicopter parenting by leaving and allowing the young’uns to fly on their own. (This could also be an interesting NATURE smart connection with fledgling birds. Just thought of that.) For BODY smart, combine the reading of the passage with some movement. In verse three, Jesus seems like a host who is eager for everyone to be introduced to everyone else, which gave me an idea for an illustration in PEOPLE smart. And in SELF smart, we spend some time looking at the historical and cultural context of the era.


Image credit: Copyright: photoman / 123RF Stock Photo. Used by permission.


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