St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
40 days after Easter day
Ascension Day tomorrow, May 18, 2023

Ascension Day Collect:
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

Acts 1: 1-11 
In the first book, O Theophilus,(*That “first book” is the gospel of Luke) I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until that day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from how.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “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 end 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 from you into heaven, will come again in the same way as you see him go into heaven.”

So what is this really about?
For Luke, the climax of the Jesus-on-earth story is not the Resurrection, but the Ascension. The climax of what God has done in Jesus occurs here: when the resurrected body of Jesus is taken up to heaven and seated at the right hand of God. (Acts 2:33, and Philippians 2:8-9)
This is where we see Jesus given authority (Acts 7:55-56), but it is also where we see the wonder of Jesus’ full humanity taken up into divinity. The author of Hebrews exults over this reality: Heb. 4:15-16). God had come near us in Jesus, in the incarnation. God was Emmanuel: “God is with us.” But now, humanity is forever united with God.
And for his position as authority, Christ the Lord will send the Holy Sprit, that “he might fill all things.” Because of the Ascension, Jesus is now present to everyone, everywhere; that was not possible in his earthly body.
The next 10 days continue the celebration of Eastertide, but the focus is different. Now we are anticipating the coming of the Holy Spirit, by which Christ will be wholly present to God’s creation always and everywhere, forever…with power.

“Thou hast raised our human nature on the clouds to God’s right hand;
there we sit in heavenly places, there with thee in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels; man with God is on the throne;
mighty Lord, in thine ascension, we by faith behold our own.”
Hymn # 215. verse 3



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *