15 May A Beautiful Invitation
On Sunday we read the story of Jesus ascending to heaven (Luke 24:44-53) and heard once again the call for the disciples to not just stand there looking up, but to go out and spread the good news of Jesus to everyone they meet (Acts 1:10-11). We can’t argue that the ascension of Jesus Christ must have been a sight to behold. The mystery and the wonder of that moment when the resurrected Jesus Christ went to heaven must have been something to see. And I am not going to even pretend I can understand it. The wonder of that moment must have been overwhelming.
Like the beauty of nature in springtime- each new blossom, each flowering tree, the buds on trees that turn to leaves, the seeds that turn into seedlings. When you stop and take notice the beauty of nature can be overwhelming. Or the wonder of something new in your life, something that bring tears of joy to our eyes. Nothing does that quite like a new graduate, ready for their next adventure or a new baby, so tiny and so beautiful. Or that moment in life when we recognize the feeling of being loved- there is beauty in those life moments that can make us stop in our tracks because of the pure joy.
Not the end of the Story
I don’t know exactly what kind of awe and wonder those disciples must have been feeling, but it must have been the stop-in-your-tracks, bring-tears-to-your-eyes kind. But that doesn’t mean it is the end of the story for us. Although Jesus’ ascension is the last story of the book of Luke. Scholars agree the book of Luke and thee book of Acts go together. So right after this wondrous, overwhelming moment of ascension, the disciples are sent out to spread the word and start the church. The Ascension event points the way to Pentecost and the birthday of the church, which we will celebrate next Sunday. Ascension and Pentecost go together because it is our experiences in relationship to one another and in community that show us the joyful presence of Christ today.
What will your response be?
Jesus tells us that his power from the Spirit is now our power. We are not only filled with joy, but we are sent out into the world with this power of Jesus Christ to share this good news with the world. This is the power and responsibility of the church. And the church is us. God chooses you to do this work. God is ready to work in the world whenever you are. Because ultimately, this isn’t about us at all, this isn’t for our own glory or our own attempt to earn salvation. This is our response to our God who has already freely given us the gift of grace and filled us with the stop-in-our-tracks, bring-tears-to-our-eyes joy of Jesus.
We’ve got work to do
So, we can’t just sit here or stand there looking up- we have to respond. We have work to do! Who hasn’t heard about Jesus yet? Who needs to hear about God’s unconditional love again? Who needs to know they are forgiven? Who needs to know they aren’t alone? These are the promises of Jesus Christ for each of us and for the world- so let’s go with great joy sharing the good news of God with everyone we meet! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.