Sunday between May 29 and June 4 inclusive (if after Trinity Sunday)
In each of the texts selected here for this occasion, there is some indication that the Lord (Adonai in the Older Testament texts and God the Father and Jesus as the Christ in the Newer Testament texts) is God for all people. This will, therefore, be a message that we shall want to share through our use of these texts.
Two lunar months after they reenacted the Passover meal each year, many of the ancient Israelites brought some of the first fruits and vegetables of the spring season as an offering to the Lord and to their priests as they celebrated together their spring religious and social agricultural festival. When the Torah became the unifying factor of those who survived the fall of Jerusalem and the loss of their nation, this agricultural festival, the Feast of Weeks, seven weeks after the Passover, gained additional meaning as a commemoration of the giving of the Torah to Moses by Adonai at Sinai. For Greek-speaking Israelites still later, this festival was called Pentecost because it was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover.
As is appropriate for this Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Sunday after the Ascension of the Lord, the emphasis within these texts is on the exaltation of the Lord. In Psalm 97 it is the Lord (Adonai) who is exalted. The exalted Lord Jesus and the Most High God are said to have removed the spirit of divination from the slave girl in the Acts 16:16-34 account and opened the gates of the Roman prison. In the Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 text it is said that the exalted Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, will be coming soon to judge everyone and to give the water of life to those who are thirsty. In the final portion of the prayer of the Johannine Jesus in John 17:20-26 the members of the Johannine community and those who will believe in the exalted Johannine Jesus through their word are said to be one with the Johannine Jesus in the glory that the Father has given to the Johannine Jesus.
The Ascension of the Lord texts in Luke-Acts (Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11) accomplish four major objectives. First, they provide an explanation of where the Risen Christ is now. Second, they provide an explanation of why the Risen Christ was seen by many followers of Jesus during the first few weeks after his crucifixion and resurrection but is being seen in the same way no longer. Third, they provide assurance that the Risen Christ is still with us spiritually and that the Risen Christ will return. Finally, they establish more clearly the responsibilities of the followers of Jesus to be witnesses of the Risen Christ throughout the world.
The emphasis in these texts selected for the Sixth Sunday of Easter this year is clearly on “good things” and on the belief that all good things come from God, as the Prayer of the Day specifies: “Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”