Ascension Day

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11

Scriptures teach us that 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus Christ, in the presence of His disciples, ascended bodily into the glory of the Father, to prepare a place for us in Heaven.  Today, in most cases, we privately celebrate Ascension Day, giving thanks for all that our Savior accomplished for those of us living on this side of Heaven.  These are some of the thousands of children who attend Lutheran schools in Haiti who received their own Bible a few years and for most, these blue covered Bibles are not only their only book but also the only book in their home.  These Bibles are well read and the above verses from Acts brings much joy for them and Hope for their families.  As they share this reason this day is special with others in their neighborhood I would ask that you too share with those along your journey today that this is Ascension Day and why that is important to you…and them.  I am closing this Ascension Day with the words from the hymn ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’ that were written by Matthew Bridges in 1851.

“Crown Him with many crowns the Lamb upon His throne; hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.  Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee and hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.  Crown Him the Virgin's Son, the God incarnate born, Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn; fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem; the root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.  Crown Him the Lord of Love.  Behold His hands and side, rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.  No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bends his wondering eye at mysteries so bright!  Crown Him the Lord of Life Who triumphed o'er the grave and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.His glories now we sing Who died and rose on high, Who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.  Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, enthroned in worlds above, crown Him the King to whom is given the wondrous name of Love.  Crown Him with many crowns as thrones before Him fall; crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns for He is King of all.”

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

May God be with you,