This Sunday, we'll be celebrating the feast day that actually falls on this date (Thursday, May 14th) - the Ascension of Our Lord. We commemorate the "end" of (one chapter of) Jesus' earthly ministry, and we look ahead to the celebration of Pentecost next week.
Jesus' ascension is usually thought of as a "leaving" - and this is how Jesus spoke of it often. He says in John 20:17 that he is ascending to the Father, emphasizing that he is going somewhere that is not here. He speaks again in John 14 of "going away" to the Father. And we know that after the Ascension, Jesus was not visibly present in and amongst his disciples in the same way he had been for the last 3 years of ministry.
Yet to grasp the true power of the Ascension, it helps to think about where Jesus went and why. He ascended from the earth, but he ascended to the Throne - he is now seated at the right hand of God, as the lord of Heaven AND Earth. When the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost, God's rule and reign, initiated in the Ascension, could now be carried forth by the newly born Church. The Ascension shows that Christ has been raised up in glory and power to be the Sovereign over all things. We do not see his reign in full yet, but our task and mission is to know the reigning Jesus, and to seek His will and purpose in the world. Let us celebrate together this Sunday that our God reigns!
We'll sing all songs that are familiar at St. Luke's this week, but if you're newer to our congregation, here's a few you might not know.
Across the Lands:
Behold Our God:
Christ is Risen:
I look forward to worshipping with you all this Sunday!