the fifth sunday of easter
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Give us grace to love one another, to follow in the way of his commandments, and to share his risen life with all the world, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
[Jesus said to the disciples:] “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
the DEVOTION. . .
Rapture! AntiChrist! Armageddon! For most of us, that’s the way the world ends! The way the kingdom comes! Not with a whimper, but with a bang! A really, really big bang! And this passage from John is a lightning rod for it all! “If I go,” Jesus says, “I will come again!” One problem …
According to the story, Jesus isn’t saying these words on this side of Easter, somewhere between the resurrection and the ascension. He’s saying them on the other side! In the night in which he was betrayed! Good Friday Eve. That means – according to the story – the “going” doesn’t mean to heaven and god’s right hand. It means to the cross and to the grave! And that “coming again?” It’s Easter! Easter morning in the garden! Easter evening behind locked doors!
According to John – and contrary to popular opinion – the kingdom isn’t lurking somewhere up ahead. Over the next hill. Around the next bend. There’s no rapture! No antichrist! No Armageddon. There’s only the here! Only the here and the now! There’s only Christ! Christ and the love he brings! Christ and the love he is!
Bob Barndt, pastor