And He Blessed Them

Ascension B
Acts 1:1-11 / Ephesians 4;1-13 / Mark 16:15-20

How we say good-bye to someone
is important!!!—

How we say good-bye to someone
may leave a lasting impression—
whether good or ill!!!

How we say good-bye matters!!!

And it matters to Jesus!!!

So, what is the last visible image—
what is the last earthly image—
that Jesus’ followers have of Him.

How did Jesus say good-bye?

Listen to how St. Luke describes it at
the end of his Gospel!!!

Luke writes:

Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany,
raised his hands,
and blessed them.

He raised His hands and
He blessed them.

And then Jesus was taken up to heaven.

How we say good-bye matters—
doesn’t it!!!

How does Jesus say good-bye?
He blesses them!!!

That’s why no portrayal of Jesus is complete
without the Ascension—it just isn’t.

Jesus’ earthly life begins with his birth as a baby—
How we say hello matters too!!!
And then there are the hidden years—

And then His public ministry—

And then the His passion and Death—

And then the resurrection appearances—

but Jesus’ earthly life doesn’t end there—
it doesn’t end with the resurrection—
it ends with the Ascension.

How Jesus says good-bye matters!!!

Now for sure others—
others before Jesus
were taken up to heaven.

There’s the great Old Testament prophet Elijah.

After serving God faithfully—
serving in very turbulent times—
Elijah was walking and teaching
his replacement—Elisha.

And all of sudden—
in a whirlwind—
a flaming chariot with blazing horses
flew down between them—
and Elijah was taken up to heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)

And there was Enoch—
the Old Testament figure in Genesis—
who used to go on long walks with God.

And one day—
while on one of those walks—
God just walked Enoch right up into heaven. (Genesis 5:21-24)

So, it had been done before!!!

What’s the difference with Jesus’ Ascension?

Listen to details—
We heard it in Mark’s account.
Mark says that Jesus was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.

Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God—
That what’s different!!!

So, Jesus doesn’t just dwell in heaven

No, Jesus reigns in heaven—
Christ is King—
Jesus is Lord!!!

Reigning as King over the Kingdom of God—
Reigning as Lord of all Life—
Sovereign of all that is—
both visible and invisible.

You see, Jesus’ good-bye was really just a
hello to another way of being.

Now not limited by space or time—
but a ubiquitous spiritual presence—
a glorified and kingly presence—
sitting at the right hand of God the Father—
blessing us.

No portrayal of Jesus is complete—
without the Ascension.

And how does the Ascension make
a difference in our lives!!!!

Well, being blessed by Jesus
makes all the difference—
it makes all the difference in the Kingdom of God.

It means that when we’re trying to do
what’s right in the eyes of God—
when we strive for holiness—
Jesus blesses us.

It means that when we try to build up—
when we attempt to make present the Kingdom of God—
Jesus blesses us.

It means that when we lift each other up—
when we really love each other—
Jesus blesses us.

It means that when we try to feed the hungry
and clothe the naked—
Jesus blesses us.

It means that when we’re struggling—
or feeling overwhelmed—
or alone or lost—
when we’re hurting—
Jesus blesses us.

It means that when we mess up—
when we don’t build up the Kingdom of God—
and we seek forgiveness—
Jesus blesses us.

How Jesus said good-bye matters!!!

No picture of Jesus is
complete without the Ascension!!!

Jesus sits at the right hand of god the Father—
in glory and power—
reigning over all that is—
blessing us!!!

Jesus loves to bless us.

Now all of us know the feeling
that sometimes when we’re trying to
do the right thing—
trying to build up the Kingdom of God—
and it seems like—
it feels like—
we’re failing.

There are times when we live the Christian life—
When we don’t feel like we’re being blessing—

But it’s there.

Jesus blessing our actions in
building up the Kingdom of God—
may not be obvious to the world—
Or to us even—

But it’s there!!!

It’s present in the Kingdom of God—
And it matters—
it makes a difference!!!

So, it’s Mother’s Day today too.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone

The Ascension and Mother’s Day—
What a great day!!!

I read a great article this week—
It was written by mothers—
and it was entitled:
“What I Wish My Pastor Would Say About Mothers.”

And one point that these mothers emphasized—
Was that when you talk about Mother’s Day—
Keep it real.

One mom pointed out that
we can all cling to some
idealized version of motherhood
that no one could come close to.

The perfect mother—
who raises perfect kids
and keeps perfect homes.

June cleaver exists only on TV.

Remind people—they advised—
that families are messy—
being a mom is messy—
that being a mom is hard!!!

Keep it real!!!
Tell them that on Mother’s Day!!!
One mother in the article said:

I don’t need a standing ovation—
but I do need affirmation and support—
I need people to know that my job as
a mother as wonderful as it is—
it can be hard.

I want acknowledgement, she said,
that my work as a mother—
is Kingdom work.

I love that!!!—
being a mother is Kingdom work—
Kingdom of God work.

She writes:
“As I bend over with my tremendously pregnant
body to pick up that thousandth crayon,
I receive no applause.”

“When I respond patiently toward a
tantrum throwing toddler—
No one says, ‘Way to keep your cool’.”

“I sacrifice and struggle because
of love and loving others is Kingdom work!!!”

She right isn’t she—
Being a mom is Kingdom work.

I want all of our moms to stand up—
And we want to acknowledge and show
our appreciate and support for
all that you have done and will do—

we know it can be hard—
we know that it’s rooted in love—
we know that it’s Kingdom work.

That’s why I love the fact that
this year Mother’s Day falls of the great
feast of the Ascension of the Lord

It reminds moms that Jesus ascended into heaven—
and sits at the right hand of God the Father—
reigning over the Cosmos—
and blesses you.

And not just moms—

All who strive to build up the Kingdom of God—
all whose work is Kingdom work.

God Blesses you!!!

How Jesus said good-by matters!!!

It matters a lot!!!!

Holy Spirit 05/12-13/2018

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