May 21st Ascension Day
Reading: Luke 24: 44-53
The Ascension is a strange event – Jesus has appeared a number of times, in different places, to various people, and now he stages an “exit”. The time of Jesus appearing in human form is over. From now the disciples will receive the gift of God’s Spirit, and that means that God is not limited to one area or one place. Jesus has taught his disciples, and on the road to Emmaus and at the lake (John 21), he has broken bread with them and for them. The gospels point us to the ongoing nourishment of the Word and Sacrament.
The Ascension is also a sign that Jesus has triumphed – it is not a disappearance but the completion of the Resurrection, raised to new life, raised to glory, raised to heaven. And this Ascension to the Father’s side is also the sign that we too can make the same journey, as we heard last week – gone to prepare for us.
The Ascension is also surprising because it was only semi-public. Only the disciples see him ascend. This is not a show of power to the world, but a sign for the believing few.
It is also, like for Elisha who saw Elijah taken into heaven, an implicit message to us to take up the mantle, to live and speak the gospel, to take on his work though not in our own strength but waiting till we are equipped with God’s spirit
What do you notice from this passage?