Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
As I look out at the blue sky and sun streaming into my study it is hard to believe that we have had consistent rainy weather for weeks. It reminds me that every day is a new beginning and that God’s mercies are new every morning.
What a day it must have been for the disciples when forty days after the resurrection, Jesus and His disciples went to Mount Olivet, near Jerusalem. There, Jesus promised His followers that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit, and He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit had come.
As “he lifted up his hands and blessed and them. He was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God” (Luke 24:50-51 & Acts 1:9-11).
Amongst many meaningful reasons theologians have noted for the Ascension of Jesus Christ here are three that speak to me:
- It signalled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.
- It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus’ glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).
- It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
On Thursday evening between 7-8pm in the upper room we will be having a prayer meeting to celebrate and remember Jesus ascension to His Father. Please come along and share in this joy and pray corporately for the needs of our church family, community, and nation.
Ascension Day Prayer
(Inspired by the events in Acts 1:6-11) written by Rev Bryce Calder,
We come today reminded of your greatness and glory, your sovereign power and eternal purpose all expressed so wonderfully in Jesus Christ, our Lord:
Risen and Ascended.
We thank you for the wonder of Ascension, that marvelous yet mysterious moment in the life of the Apostles which left them gazing heavenwards in confusion yet departing in joy.
We thank you for the way that it brought the earthly ministry of Jesus to a fitting conclusion; signifying his oneness with you, and demonstrating your final seal of approval on all that he had done.
We thank you that through his Ascension Jesus is now set free to be Lord of all: no longer bound to a particular place or time, but with us always — able to reach even to the ends of the earth. We thank you that through his departing Jesus prepared for his coming again: through his Spirit, his Church, and his coming again in glory.
Forgive us for so often failing to grasp the wonder of Ascension, for living each day as though it had never been.
Forgive the smallness of our vision, the narrowness of our outlook, the weakness of our love, the nervousness of our witness, our repeated failure to recognise the fullness of your revelation in Christ.
Give us a deeper sense of wonder, a stronger faith, and a greater understanding of all you have done.
Like the Apostles, we too will never fully understand all Ascension means. We accept, but we do not fully understand. We believe, yet we have many questions.
Help us, despite our uncertainty, to hold firm to the great truth that the wonder of Christ Jesus goes far beyond anything we can ever imagine, and in that faith may we live each day to his glory and honour.