God's Got This - Reflections 4-20-2022

Texts for Sunday 4-24-2022 
Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 150
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

This is my last Easter Celebration at Gloria Dei (retiring in June). The Easter Vigil begins with the words in the italics below as the cross on the brand-new Paschal Candle is is traced by the minister’ finger. Then the candle is lit from a newly built fire. And is carried with the shout or chant “The Light of Christ. Thanks be to God!” We didn’t have a vigil this year but I still did the inscription as I placed the new candle in its stand for Sunday service. My husband, who has acting as acolyte for all the services through COVID, lit this Paschal Candle with the usual lighter taper of acolytes.

Christ yesterday and today,
the beginning
and the ending,
To Christ belongs all time
and all ages;
to Christ belongs glory and dominion,
now and forever.

It sounds an awful lot like our second reading from Revelation …. Alpha and Omega…. who is and who was and who is to come….to the one who loves us and frees us – to him be glory and dominion, forever and ever.

At the very start of the Easter service, I feel like a messenger at the tomb, waiting for the women who would find the tomb empty as I shout “Alleluia! Christ is risen!”. For just a moment we stand in that eternity where all has been fulfilled.

Pretty quickly, I move from messenger to message received. And then, we get back in the car, back to our daily life, back to our routines, back to our sorrows and our pains; eternity seems pretty far away. Maybe that is why those who built the lectionary put readings from Revelation in the following 6 Sundays of the Easter season.

For the people from the community out of which Revelation was born eternity undoubtedly felt very far away. They were now two generations away from Jesus’ life and ministry. Two generations that expected Jesus to return any moment. During that time, they saw Jerusalem destroyed, saw Rome crush any hopes of freedom. What is taking Jesus so long?

There is a lot going on in this world that makes eternity feel very far away. My top 3: COVID, Ukraine, bitter partisanship all over our country turning neighbors, even family members into the enemy. We are more generations away from Jesus' life and ministry than I care to count. And more crushing of hopes than I care to count.

The main message of the book of Revelation is that "God’s got this"; you can count on it. Life is messy and broken. But death and evil are defeated…. Easter has unleashed the victory. Even when Rome crushes our hope, even when our daily life is filled with sorrow, even when it doesn’t seem like it…. Christ’s victory stretches from “was” to “is” to “is to come”.

As they say in seminary, we live in penultimate time aka we live in the “already, not yet”. Eternity is weird like that. But we know the ultimate outcome and can live with that drawing us forward.

Time for a deep breath of peace (reference from the Gospel story).

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245