Sunday, May 16, 2010

7 Easter

The Sunday after Ascension

May 16, 2010

Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21

+ “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

So…when was the last time we heard these words in church? If you said “Advent” you are very read. And I am very proud of you. If you didn’t…well, that’s all right. We all make mistakes.

But, yes, the last time we heard these words were at Advent. In fact, these words sort of give a theme to Advent. At Advent, we awaited the Christ Child at Christmas. We looked toward that coming of Jesus with hopefully expectation and joy.

But today—that Sunday after the Ascension and this Sunday before Pentecost—this last Sunday of Easter—the tone of these words has a different feel. Come, Lord Jesus takes on a different meaning today, but it is no less full of expectation and no less joyful.

Like those early followers of Jesus all that we have experienced in these last several weeks since Easter—all that we have encountered in our scriptures and liturgies—has been, to say the least, heady stuff. Jesus’ death, resurrection and, most recently, his ascension are all things that are not easy to wrap our minds around.

But now, we are preparing for another coming of Jesus. This one if very different than anything we have experienced up to this point. Next Sunday—Pentecost—we experience the coming of Jesus’ Spirit upon us.

And, today, between this feast of his Ascension and the feast of his return among us as Spirit, we are truly expectant.

Next week, on Pentecost Sunday, Jesus makes a triumphant return. That prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus” will be answered yet again, but in a very different way than those early followers or even us fully expect.

And what is especially wonderful is the fact that every time we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” we find that he truly does. He comes to us in his Spirit and descends upon us. All we have to do is ask. All we have to do is pray that simple prayer. And he answers. Every time.

The coming of Jesus’ Spirit is truly a glorious event that happens again and again in our lives. It happens here at Mass, when we call down that Spirit of Jesus into the Bread and the Wine. It happens when we feast here at this altar on his Body and Blood. But what we are feasting here on more than his Body and Blood. We are feasting here on his Body, Blood and Spirit.

We also experience it our prayers lives. As some of you know, I am regular practitioner of Centering Prayer. Centering Prayer is a surprisingly simple form of prayer in which one simply opens one’s self up to God and allows God to become fully and completely present.

During Centering Prayer, I often find myself praying for Jesus to come to me. And it really does happen. When I open myself to Jesus’ Spirit to come to me and be with me, Jesus truly does come. And that experience with Spirit is an indescribable, incredible, wonderful experience.

So, let this prayer—“Come, Lord Jesus”—be our prayer, not just at Advent, not just at Pentecost, but always. Let is be the most powerful prayer we know. Let is be the prayer of our lips, our breathes, our heartbeats. And let us always know that it is the prayer that is always answered—again and again—with in an overly generous outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus into our lives.

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