Sacred Opportunity – 7 Sunday Easter 2017

Friends, Jesus teaches the disciples that they should not concern themselves with predicting or speculating about the future. Their duty is to testify of him who is life itself as the remain in constant prayer. Scripture encourages us to fight the good fight of faith. Life's experience has taught me that a simple and effective antidote to bitterness, hatred and cruelty is gratitude. It is important to be aware of the manifold blessings that life offers us and understand how life itself is a great gift and that every day given to us is a sacred opportunity. Do not let bitterness become a normal disposition in your life. We are on a journey that leads to what is eternally true and sincere: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God abide forever" (Isaiah 40: 8). God is the only lasting reality in an ever-changing world, and he has designed it in such a way that the heart searches for him. "All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field."

This world is not our home; We are "strangers" here. Heaven is our home. This was what we celebrated on Ascension Thursday. Waiting for the Lord is a difficulty for all of us. It could be likened to a kind of heart disease. The Apostle Paul says that our loneliness and alienation prepare us for an "eternal importance of honour" over all comparisons, because we do not look at what can be seen but what cannot be seen. "For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is forever" (2 Cor 4: 17-18). When we consider our short lives in this world, it is important to embrace who we are right now to celebrate our temporary existence, for that is all we have and to care for the gift of others whose paths crosses ours. Every person is a unique human being, who should be celebrate every time we meet. We cannot be sure we will meet. Therefore, when you see me or hear me, please celebrate me that moment.

Life can be described as a fight, good and evil, light and dark are present in inch of the journey of life. Everyone chooses how he or she engages this struggle (Ephesians 12: 6). There are two basic methods of "spiritual warfare". The first is to discern the presence of evil and then ask for God's intervention, liberation, protection and so on. The other is to use the ‘good eye’ and focus on truth and the reality of God instead - to "put your thoughts on things above" (Phil 4: 8). To experience peace in life, a human person must defeat the fear of darkness, the fear of evil. Although it may be necessary to discern and fight against the darkness that seeks to enslave us, yet it is more important to trust in the divine presence that penetrates and transcends everything (Psalm 16: 8). When David was surrounded by the enemy, he kept focus on the Lord's glory. David knew that God would protect him and lift him over the powers of darkness (Psalm 27: 1-6). The highest form of spiritual struggle is then to deliberately turn away from fear by choosing to wholeheartedly embrace God’s glory and reverence him.

Life's events can throw us into crisis of doubt and spiritual despair. Then God and faith are perceived as absent amid life. When this happens, we dare not live the life we ​​dream about. Generosity and openness make the world better. And right now, It's more needed than ever. To take place, go for your dream without pushing down someone else. To succeed in life, we need to find our driving force. We can train our empathy and social ability, celebrate each other and see that every human being no matter their social, political or economic status has irreversible value that should always be valued and respected.

Jesus tells us that He has not left us in the world alone. He is still with us. We can either let God glorify Jesus in our lives or live our lives without accepting the words of Jesus. Then we can go through life as a victim, blaming and causing others for our failures. You may be feeling hurt; your soul may be hurting. You may have trouble breaking negative thoughts and behaviour patterns. You may be stuck in sin and basking in the garment of unforgiveness and bitterness. Whatever be the case, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The darkness will always break into the morning sun. God will make a way. To be happy is to cease to feel like a victim and become the author and driver of your present and future. You have all that it takes to be happy and successful. It is important to be grateful for everything in life. It's also critical to admit when you've done wrong. It is to have the courage to say, 'Please forgive me’.

Gratitude for the little success that life offers us leads to happiness. It is always a challenge for most Christians to understand the place of suffering in the mystery of life. Unfortunately, many people suffer from other things than for the sake of Jesus. Suffering can only be meaningful if it is united or participation in the suffering of Jesus. A Christian should never suffer because or his or her evil deeds. But when somebody suffers as a Christian, do not be ashamed (1Pet 4:15).

As the Easter season draws to an end, the Holy Spirit appears more evident. We come closer to Jesus when we open to the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that makes Jesus present with us in a new way. He will not only be with us but in us. All four Gospels, as well as Paul's proclamation of the resurrection in the First Corinthians 15 assume that the time when the resurrected showed himself was limited. That he showed himself was to gather a circle of disciples who would testify that Jesus did not stay in the grave, but lives forever. Their witnessing is basically a mission! They must proclaim to the world that Jesus is alive, he is life itself. The gospel of Luke ends with the Ascension of the Lord and the Apostles begin with it. The last words of Luke's gospel are: “He brought them out of the city to Bethany, and lifted up his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and brought to heaven. They fell down and rejoiced, then returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

After Jesus had left them, the apostles returned to the Upper Room where they gathered around Jesus to celebrate the last supper. The evangelist write that the disciples together with Jesus' mother were in constant prayer (Acts 1: 12-14). In the Upper Room of Jerusalem, the Church was born. It was in the same room the apostles gathered around Jesus for the last meal. It was also here that together with Mary they were constantly praying for the coming of the Spirit. It seems that there is always an advantage when people pray together than as individuals, strong spiritual energy is generated during such gatherings with many involved. To pray is something deeply human. "Lord, teach us pray!" Said the apostles. The appeals of the disciples reflect a deep longing for all of Jesus' followers.

Webbdesign: Peter Tynkkynen