6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 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.”
Acts 1:6-11, NRSV
It’s Ascension Day!
If, in this moment, you’re scratching your head and thinking, “Ascension Day… hmmm… doesn’t ring a bell,” you’re not alone. In some Christian traditions, Ascension Day is a grand celebration, one to rival Easter. Yet in other traditions (including our own), it tends to be a little hit-or-miss. Ascension Day comes forty days (a good, full biblical number) after Easter, and commemorates the moment when Jesus, having spent forty post-Resurrection days with his followers, is taken up into heaven. On Ascension Day, the earthly ministry of Jesus moves heavenward.
In a “Prayer for Ascension Day,” United Methodist liturgical scholar Lawrence Hull Stookey offers these words:
Everliving God, your eternal Christ once dwelt on earth, confined by time and space. Give us faith to discern in every time and place the presence among us of him who is head over all things and fills all, even Jesus Christ our ascended Lord. Amen.
Confined by time and space. True… the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth occurred at a particular time in history and in a particular place on earth. Confined by time and space. Ascension, then, marks a turning point, a mysterious and miraculous moment when that ministry is no longer confined to a particular time in history or a particular place on earth.
Unconfined. That probably sounds good to us, we followers of Jesus in this season of coronavirus, this season in which we’ve felt quite confined. In the midst of social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, you may be largely confined to your own living space. In the midst of the pandemic’s flattened-yet-extended curve, you may feel stuck in COVID time.
But it’s Ascension… and Ascension heralds the truth that Christ is not confined by space or time. So may God give you the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the heart to perceive his presence among you. Because Christ is unconfined, you are not alone.
Want to experience more on this Ascension Day? Join our North District for an Ascension Day Zoom worship at 12:00 PM — you’ll find access information below.
North District Ascension Worship – Zoom Access Info
Topic: Ascension Day Worship
Time: May 21, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 974 1892 5684
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Meeting ID: 974 1892 5684
Find your local number: https://epaumc.zoom.us/u/awYkZAJ0P
On this Ascension Day, friends, may you remember:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/