“When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and 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 24:51-53
These verses from Luke tell about Jesus ascending into Heaven and what the disciples did after He had disappeared from their sight and it reminded me of sights like this from Haiti. When traveling throughout Haiti during the summer months, when school is out, I would always see a few children sitting near the school during the daytime…waiting. Schools in Haiti don’t have the fancy playground equipment (or any for that matter) that would be full of children but usually there is a wall or a step where a person can sit on a hot day and wait and find a piece of shade. These two girls were waiting at the Lutheran School in Cap Haitian on a Saturday morning as there were strangers there taking a tour of their school. There are no summer leagues in their community and when their chores are finished they usually wander to the school and wait on God’s ground…for school to start again. As we wait on this side of Heaven, may we too continually dwell on the blessings we have, how we can share them and the promise that Jesus left with us on that Ascension Day. I am closing today with the words from the hymn ‘Abide with Me! Fast falls the Eventide’ that were written by Henry F. Lyte in 1847.
“Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, oh, abide with me! Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see. O Thou, who changest not, abide with me! Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word, but as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord, familiar, condescending, patient, free. Come not to sojourn, but abide with me. Come not in terror, as the King of kings, but kind and good, with healing in Thy wings; tears for all woes, a heart for every plea. Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me. Thou on my head in every youth didst smile, and though rebellious and perverse meanwhile, Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee. On to the close, O Lord, abide with me. I need Thy presence every passing hour; what but Thy grace can foil the Tempter's power? Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me! I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight and tears no bitterness. Where is death's sting? where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still if Thou abide with me. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes, shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies. Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!”
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…Jay