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Ascension Day, May 8, 1986 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Coney Island, New York

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Ascension Day, May 8, 1986 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Coney Island, New York

“Christ Ascended into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, and from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead” (from the Apostles’ Creed).

Song:     The Lord Christ Jesus rules from heaven.

To him all power and glory are given,

The whole world is his footstool.

The whole world is his footstool.

Let all tongues on earth confess him.

He comes to us with crowns of blessing.

His dominion he shall rule.

His dominion he shall rule.

(Translated from the German by Peter Krey)

Exactly forty days were given for the risen Lord to make appearances to the disciples. After this point the curtain had to be closed on the earthly appearances of the risen Lord and he ascended up into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. The disciples kept gazing up after him, because they did not want him to leave them. They did not want to sever the ties. But every appearance of the Lord was not merely to satisfy the curiosity of faith, but was at once a sending of the disciple into mission, a vesting of resurrection power in the disciple and the consequent transformation of the disciple into an apostle.

Therefore we don’t start speculating and gazing enraptured at this Ascension, but we turn our eyes down to the earth and we roll up our sleeves and be about the salvation work Jesus has sent us to do.

To focus on the transformation: the disciples became apostles and we ourselves become changed into Christ-filled people, who look to the cross and call it love, look to the cross and call it joy, look to the cross and call it glory, because we see the glorious love of God shown, demonstrated in the giving of his very own life, so that we might be saved, rescued from our sin.

But Jesus gave his life so powerfully that death did not stop his ministry. After his death, he continued to minister to his disciples and then ascended into heaven, the way he will lift up all those who follow him and continue his loving life-giving actions in this world.

So here we are. Oh Lord, we see you ascend and we know you are gathering up all the people of the world into the love of the Almighty Father and you are sending us to make us part of what you are doing, all those glorious things you do here because of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit. Here we are. Empower us to serve you. Let us witness to the life you give by your love. Let us participate in the healing of the sick and broken, in the reconciliation of enemies, in forgiveness, in repentance, in hope, in sharing you, even as we have received you. Amen.

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Written by peterkrey

April 6, 2010 at 5:58 am

Posted in Selected Sermons

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