A reflection for the season from Easter to Pentecost

The journey from surprise and disorientation to confidence and purpose

 

These things we remember

In the entrance hall of my home hangs a string of brightly coloured fabric birds.

Every time I see it I’m whisked back to a warm winter evening in Vietnam, and I see the faces of the hotel staff who gave me this thoughtful parting gift. It was the first time I had been to the ‘East’ and I still remember how strange it felt, stepping off the plane into this foreign land.

Disorientation seems to be part of travel ...

You arrive, usually feeling tired and groggy, and it’s hard to get your bearings. The language is different; the climate feels different; and everything looks, well, just a little bit different.

Coloured fabric birds

A time of rejoicing

Hands raised in praise

When Christ rose from dead his followers must have also been disorientated. On Friday they saw him die on a cross; now his body was gone … yet people were starting to see a man that looked familiar … but was it really Jesus? 

Knowing they would need help adjusting to the change, Jesus stayed with them for 40 days and later sent his Holy Spirit to be with them always. 

The early church celebrated the period from Easter to Pentecost with fifty days of rejoicing and thanksgiving. Today this tradition has largely been lost - and with it, perhaps, some of the awe those first Christ-followers must have experienced immediately after the Resurrection. The resurrected Christ can fill fishing nets without touching them … He can pass through locked doors, despite having a physical presence …  He can ride on clouds up to heaven.

If we just skip forward to Pentecost we miss all of this.

The disciples’ final memories of Jesus on earth, after the Resurrection, would have been just as amazing as, and no less precious than those before his crucifixion – and perhaps even more vivid!

When the day of his ascension finally comes ...

Jesus gives his disciples three parting gifts:
 
1. He points to the fulfilment in him of what was written in the law and by the prophets
2. He reminds his disciples that they are witnesses to everything that has happened
3. He blesses them and sends them out to preach the Good News. 

Things to think and pray about

  • How might you celebrate Easter as a season rather than just one day? 
  • Where do you think you are called to ‘go’ to, as a witness of what has happened in your life? Are you fulfilling your mission?
  • What might be your parting gift to the next generation?
  • Do you have any fears around sharing your faith? Ask for God’s help in sharing the Good News boldly and with confidence.
  • Are you experiencing ‘disorientation’ in any areas of your faith? Consider sharing your uncertainty and confusion with a friend and praying about this together.

 


If you enjoyed this reflection, you may be interested in Mark Bradford's book, Encountering the Risen Christ: From Easter to Pentecost - the message of the resurrection and how it can change us.