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With these lessons the Easter season closes. The passages that form this final Easter season, however, intimates a variety of futures-the coming of the Spirit, the eschatological vision of the "eternal glory in Christ" for those who suffer with/for Christ, and the future mission of the community. These readings invite us to explore the future existence and mission that awaits us at the close of Easter and the beginning of Pentecost.

Acts 1:6-14-

This lesson encompasses the Ascension Sunday passage, but moves beyond Acts 11:1-11 to include the return of the ascension crowd to "the room upstairs" in Jerusalem as well as including the names of the original disciples, adding in "certain women," of whom Mary the mother of Jesus is notable. In terms of outline, verses 1-5 is the introduction which links Luke’s gospel ending to the beginning of his Acts account (note Theophilus-lover of God-which appears at the beginning of both); verses 6-11 cover the concerns of the disciples for the present-the issues of absence and presence; verses 12-14 has the disciples, the women, and Jesus’ brothers obediently in Jerusalem prayerfully awaiting the Spirit’s descent.

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11-

This lesson really extends back to 3:8-(righteous) suffering; such discourse suggests what many of the writer’s audience must have been experiencing at the time of composition. We also can be reasonably sure that the original recipients were a minority community in a hostile society (compare 2:11, 4:12, and 5:8-9). Also apparent in this lesson is the eschatological hope-a future time of vindication and rejoicing. Such hope nourishes endurance in tough times. This community is encouraged to own now a share in the future unveiling of God’s power and presence (4:13-14). Verse 17 (chapter 4) places their suffering in the context of the Christian community which then spreads to those "who do not obey the gospel of God" (4:18). The lesson thus invites us to do right, to trust God, and to anticipate God’s eschatological vindication.

John 17:1-11-

In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus and his disciples enjoy an intimate conversation; it begins with an action--Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet (John 13:1) and it ends with a prayer (John 17). Sandwiched between these two points are some of the most intriguing and intimate spiritual sharing found in any Christian writing. The prayer of John 17 is a continuation and summary of the conversation Jesus has enjoyed with his disciples: he reviews his own mission given him by the Father, describes the intimacy and unity with the Father and intercedes on behalf of his disciples that they too might enjoy just such a relationship with the Father.