“Your friends make known, O God, the glorious splendor
of your kingdom”
We are still in the Easter season and get to rest our hearts here
for two more weeks before we come to Ascension, Pentecost and on
to business as usual. I do think of this as a resting season even
though we are busily following the very active life of the Church
as described in the Acts of the Apostles.
It is clear from the Acts of the Apostles that the life of a witness
to Jesus is often more action adventure than resting. We are witnesses
to the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom. This means being
participants in the making of a world organized the way God would
have it. Such an undertaking brings us into direct confrontation
with all that is not true to God’s dream for us.
In Nebraska, unless some miracle intervenes, we will execute a man
today. This taking of a human life – not required for protecting
society--is not the world as God wants it to be. And so we say no;
in the midst of the helplessness one can at least say a public no
to what is not of the Kingdom.
Each day, each of the witnesses to the Gospel undertakes the difficult
adventure of saying yes and no dozens of times, shaping themselves
and their world. In today’s reading we find Paul and Barnabas
(exemplars of all the other men and women who were active witnesses
to Jesus) ending one of their extended, breathless adventures. Their
final act is to gather the Church to rejoice in God’s goodness
and to rest there in the community of disciples.
Many of us are busily, breathlessly wrapping up our school year,
preparing for the graduation and wedding season, trying to make
the energy and money stretch, worrying about summer childcare arrangements,
often feeling the lack of resources to say yes and no to all the
things that call to us. In and around and behind all of this Jesus
invites us to peace. Jesus continues to invite us to rest in confidence
in his ongoing presence, in God’s limitless love for us, in
the Spirit sent to accompany us on this adventure.
I often feel a need to return here to the Gospel of John —Easter
season or not. It is here that we are reminded that the action adventure
of the Kingdom is not something we take up alone or solely with
our own resources.