Thursday, May 14, 2015

He ascended with our scars

“Pax Dominum” (The Peace of the Lord be with you) – it is how Jesus greets his disciples for the last time in the Easter season and right before he is taken up to heaven. He has come to lead them out to the Mount of the Ascension and he is going to be taken into heaven from them.  But the question might be, “Where did he go?” According to the Creeds, he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

And then things got interesting. Two men dressed in white robes asked the 11 disciples why they were standing there, looking up into heaven when they should be focused on what’s next. Imagine how daunting that must have been. Jesus has been taken up, what do we do now? So I find what they did next all the more interesting. The Eleven worshiped and prayed. They went back to the Temple and to the City and they worshiped and prayed some more. And that it when it hit me: at the start of the Gospel of Luke, Zachariah would not thank God for the gift of a child believing that it was not possible and so could not bless people for nine months; not until John was born and he acknowledge what God had told him and did as he was directed.

That is a stark contrast to Jesus who is taken up from his disciple and continues to bless them as he is removed from their sight. Scripture witnesses to the fact the Jesus keeps on blessing as he keeps on proceeding to his rightful place, beside his Father. Jesus, according to the Scriptures continues even today to bless the Church. It has happened from that moment to this moment. Jesus is blessing his one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. But what does it mean for us to be blessed?

Well, for one, when you know that you are blessed, there needs to be a response starting with thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving are an important part of God’s economy. The peace that draws us into God’s presence also enables us to move from fear to faith; from misery to mercy and from bewilderment to fascination, awe and wonder at what God can and is doing. Give thanks that he has ascended with our scars. Worship helps us to focus on God and to let go of the things that hold us down and keep us back from him and all that he desires to give us and to do through us in the world.

Secondly, we need to know when to get home for worship and to be resupplied and when to get out of the house. It has been said that “timing is everything.” It may be, but it is not the only that needs to happen. When it was time, things moved forward. The Spirit came upon the Church, Peter preached, people responded and the Church grew because the community had been both blessed and empowered for the work that was ahead.

So this then, raises questions like, ”Can you wait? Can you wait faithfully and keep on praise and worshiping God? Can you celebrate being left behind?” If you want to, then lift up your heart, lift up your life and allow God to direct it as he sees fit and may the Lord continue to bless you in the things he has called you to.


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