We seem almost back to the Road to Emmaus where Jesus talked with his disciples, broke bread, then vanished from their sight. This week, Jesus is comforting his disciples and assuring them that, even if Jesus leaves, the disciples will not be alone. He had barely finished saying them when he was lifted up into the cloud and out of their site. As the sometimes comical disciples are wont to do, they are struggling to see where Jesus is. It took two others (angels? white robes?) to break the news—he is not here. They continue, “You have seen him leave this earth. And this is the way he will return to earth!” Another mind-blowing experience for the disciples. Do we sometimes continue to look for Jesus when he has already moved on? I think so.
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When the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
From sermon4kids.com: “. . . in my imagination I can see the disciples standing and watching as Jesus ascended higher and higher until He disappeared from view. Were the disciples sad? No way! The Bible tells us that when Jesus had gone up into heaven, the disciples worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They stayed continually in the temple, praising God.”
Collect: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Reflection: The risen and ascended Christ promises to send us power from on high. How do I use such “soul force” to bring forgiveness, blessing, and love to others?
Saint Focus: At first glance, it appears there are three people listed in the first two “saint” slots below, and indeed physically there are. However, these three combine together to describe the way of Christianity in England. Bertha, a Christian, married Ethelbert, a non-Christian. Ethelbert permitted his wife to pursue her own spirituality. Augustine was one of those bringing Christianity back to England. He was granted access by Bertha and Ethelbert. Much more to this story. Be sure to follow the link below for a greater description. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 26; Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
- 27; Bertha and Ethelbert, Queen and King of Kent, 616
- 28; [Mechtild of Magdeburg], Mystic, c.1282; AND John Calvin, Theologian, 1564
leave the prison—
the prison of your
the gate is open
I will take you
by the hand
and lead you
into my infinite
empty space and
the stillness of
joy and peace
inside yet outside
Contemporary Parables: “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (2000), about loss and learning; “The Phantom Menace” (1999), in which Obi Wan leaves in body but remains in spirit; “Powder” (1999), in which a young albino lives in his grandfather’s basement
In the Acts lesson, Jesus assures his disciples that he is sending the Holy Spirit to guide them throughout their ministries. And as Jesus was speaking, he was lifted up out of their sight. Oh, my, what a wonder! Nothing can compare to that, but what do you see in everyday life, in your relationships, in your environment, that you marvel or wonder at? Share.
Excerpted from SOLI website.
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We begin today the final week of Easter. Last Thursday we celebrated Jesus’ ascension to the Father and his glorification. The Gospel reading today is a portion of the prayer he prayed on the night before his death, in which he consecrated his offering of himself to God, and prayed for us that we might be made part of his offering. In baptism we have, in fact, received the benefits of that prayer.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles is the beginning of that book. Luke describes Jesus’ ascension and the promise that he would shortly empower his friends with the Holy Spirit. We are told that the disciples, including Jesus’ mother, then spent the remaining days together in prayer waiting for that gift of the Spirit, which would come upon them on the Day of Pentecost.
In the passage from 1 Peter, we are exhorted to live lives in keeping with our vocation given in baptism. If we are to suffer, let it be for doing good, not because of wrongdoing. Such righteous suffering deepens our union with Christ. We are already assured by Jesus’
Resurrection that no suffering can destroy the eternal life we have been given.
We gather week by week to celebrate the Eucharist. The Ascension reminds us that in the Eucharist Jesus is not made present by being brought down to us; he is present because in the Eucharist we are taken up to where he is. For a moment, we are not only in the world but we become citizens of the eternal kingdom.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.