Long division

Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11

A person’s final words are important. When they are out of character or trivial, we remember them with some embarrassment. Elvis Presley, for example, supposedly said, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” Well-spoken words, on the other hand, provide a fitting conclusion to a life and encouragement for those who remain. This week’s lectionary readings juxtapose two sets of final words, one from John’s Gospel as Jesus prepares to go to his death, and another from Acts as he prepares to ascend into heaven. Given this one last opportunity to say what needed to be heard and remembered by his disciples, Jesus’ attention centers on our unity and our witness, which turn out to be one and the same thing.

 

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