Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ascension Sunday, 2011

Joining Michelle again at Graceful, a meme for which I am increasingly grateful as I re-enter church as a worshiper and not a planner/participant - so thanks, Michelle, for this call to listen and worship well.   

Also joining dear Jen at Finding Heaven and the sisters of the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood, because what I learn on Sundays is so often what I want to share with them:

Ascension Sunday. Not a date that Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, tend to notice much. And that's our loss, because it is such an important part of our story as people who follow the Jesus way.
Because here's the good news about the ascension: 
our incarnate Savior is reigning NOW, 
seated on the right hand of God.  
The plan of salvation is working its way through human history - there are no surprises for our Triune God.  

The man Jesus is now fully inhabiting heaven as the cosmic Christ - our Champion, our Forerunner, our Deliverer. Ascension Sunday reminds us who is really in charge.

But it is also a reminder that we have been invited to partner with the Sovereign God in the working out of the good news in this world.

Jesus' words to his disciples, just before he disappeared from their sight, were words of instruction, encouragement and invitation:
"He opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures.  
And he said, '...with my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem... And now I will send the Holy Spirit,
just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes 
and fills you with power from heaven.'" (Luke 24:44, 47-48)

And the disciples response? Exactly what ours needs to be:
"They worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem 
filled with great joy.  
And they spent all of their time in the Temple, 
praising God."  (vs. 52)

It begins with worship - which leads to joy - which leads them to wait for the Spirit to fill and move them.
to joy 
to waiting on God 
to moving wherever the Wind blows.

And that's what we did, together, after the sermon.  We shared in communion as our gifted instrumentalists played two lovely and worshipful arrangements.  And we stood to sing, "Crown Him with Many Crowns," in 4 part harmony, with trumpet descant - and the room fairly vibrated with joyful worship.
Now we wait for the Breath of God to move us, individually and collectively, into the nooks and crannies of our world, to bear the very fragrance of grace in Jesus' name.  

Finding that balance between waiting and moving is sometimes tricky, though, isn't it?  So we pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and hands and feet to move when the time is right.  And, oh yeah - a little joy would be good, too.