Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The first eleven verses of the book of Acts take the place of our Epistle reading for Ascension Day. Here, the author, presumed to be Luke, jumps right in with Jesus' post-resurrection appearances and the last interaction between him and his disciples before the ascension.
The disciples wanted to know if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus' answer was rather cryptic. He pointed them to the coming of the Holy Spirit who would make them his witnesses. Then he ascended into heaven.
Has the kingdom been restored? In these last days, as we will be considering more during the season of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has come and we testify about what God has done in Christ. This testimony extends all around the world. God is calling people to himself, by grace, through faith, to receive his forgiving love. He rules over the world, but in an oblique way. He rules over his Church in a less oblique way. And He calls the Church to bring his good news of salvation to every nation.
When we pray, "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" we are acknowledging that God's kingdom is, indeed present. We want his reign to be evident among us as well. God is restoring the kingdom. Not to a political group, like Israel, but to his children, adopted by grace, living in Christ.
Even though the Holy Spirit has fallen upon the Church, we still pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in us, making us faithful witnesses to the resurrection, now and always, to every nation.
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