St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Thursday, May 26, 2022
Why do we even celebrate this?The Ascension According to the scriptures, 40 days after Jesus was raised from the dead, he finally really did leave his friends physically. You will find the story in Acts 1:1-11, and in Luke 24:44-53.
Luke 24:44-53 Jesus said to his disciples, “These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to these things. I am sending upon you what the Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
The Collect for the day
Here is an excellent reason to celebrate this feast day: Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
Did you notice that once again Jesus had to remind them of what he had said earlier? That he had to “open their minds to understand the scriptures?” Apparently, being face to face with Jesus, either before or after the resurrection wasn’t enough. Sometimes I have heard people say that it would be so much better if we had lived at the time of Jesus. Really? If we had, we wouldn’t have had any access to him or his teachings at all, unless our heritage is Palestinian Jew – or Roman occupiers of the holy city! And even if we were, the chances would still be small that we would even have heard of Jesus. So how did the church grow so quickly, and across so many different cultural, linguistic, racial and religious groups?
I didn’t write anything here yesterday because I have been overwhelmed by yet another senseless mass shooting, this time in an elementary school, by another angry young man armed with a weapon specifically designed to kill many people quickly. Tomorrow I will, however, and hopefully will have Bishop Bruce’s pastoral letter to include. “Thoughts and prayers” are simply not enough.