Feast of the Ascension
May 24, 2020
So when they had come together, the apostles 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.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Something to Do
It is not for you to know the time…
We are unpleasantly familiar with the experience of not knowing when the time will come – so this week, turn not knowing the time into a game instead of a burden.
Choose one day to live without any knowledge of the time (this is trickier now because of our phones). Cover up all the clocks in your home and try not to worry about what time it is. What does it feel like?
a cloud took him out of their sight
Growing up on the prairies, I have always known that scenery is not only what happens on the ground. Whether you are going out for walks or sitting in your backyard or gazing out an open window, spend some time directing your sight upwards. Pay attention to the colours of the sky and the shapes of the clouds. What do you see? What do you find yourself thinking about?
Something to Wonder
devoting themselves to prayer
The disciples responded to the astonishing experience of watching Jesus ascend and to the promise of the power to come by going home and devoting themselves to prayer.
Consider your prayer life this week. How would you describe it? How do you feel about it? Is there anything you would change? If so, what and why?
Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?
On the one hand, this is a ridiculous question. They are looking up toward heaven because they just watched Jesus disappear into the sky! On the other hand, perhaps it is not so ridiculous – how often do we look for God where we last saw God instead of paying attention to where God is going?
Where are you looking for God these days? Why are you looking there? Might you be looking in the wrong direction? Where else could you look?
Something to Learn
Church of the Ascension
Last year, we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension with a spectacular potluck dinner and community talent night. The hall was filled with people eating, singing, hugging, and laughing – it was like a different world!
This year, we are celebrating from our homes as we continue to learn what it is to be a the Church of the Ascension when we can’t enjoy one another’s company in our beloved, beautiful building.
This article discusses the idea of “distributed church” – an idea that has been discussed for some time but has taken on new weight in a pandemic world. It is long but easy to read and worth a few minutes of your time.
Distributed Church and the New Normal of a Pandemic World
“Every church is a “distributed” church now, whether we like it or not. Distributed simply means “spread” or “shared.” It has been a word that we of the Fresh Expressions movement have often held together in creative tension with the “collected” church”.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.