“You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.”
Thursday, 21 May 2020
Acts 18:1-8; Psalm 98:1-4; John 16:16-20
Today’s Gospel reading (from Thursday before Ascension Sunday) offers us an unusual situation. Although its position in John’s Gospel is before the Passion and anticipates both Passion and Resurrection, we read it during Eastertide from the perspective of Resurrection anticipating Ascension.
Why does that matter?
We read the scriptures in two ‘time zones’ – that of the first century and our own. Read from the first century it points to the early Christians expectations of Jesus’ return (which didn’t happen). In our times, we do not expect Jesus’ return but must read it from the perspective of the ‘long haul’. This means living as if we could expect Jesus’ return any time.
We live in expectation, but we live as if that return may not come in our lifetime or that of future generations. We live with all the challenges of the present, but with a view of eternity. We may live with sorrow, but in faith, we trust that sorrow will become joy.
And in doing just that we experience now the joy of union with God.