07 May Pastor’s Paragraph for May 9, 2021
MAY 9, 2021
There are holy days that I never thought much about before becoming a pastor. The Ascension is one of them. It’s possible that the observance of the Ascension was never much on my mind because it always falls on a Thursday. I don’t think that I have ever been to a church that offers a special Ascension Day service. (There are faith traditions that will have services observing the Ascension, however, and I have been in churches in which we have observed the Ascension on the following Sunday.) The Ascension is observed 40 days after Easter Sunday, which is next Thursday, May 13th this year.
One of the places we visited when I was on a tour throughout Jerusalem was the church built at the site that commemorates the Ascension. And within the church, there is a stone containing a footprint that is suggested to be that of Jesus. Whether or not that really is Jesus’ footprint and whether or not that is the location from which Jesus ascended, I don’t know. What I do know is that after the death and resurrection of Jesus, he ascended into heaven, and before he did that, Jesus had a last word to share with his followers.
Last words matter—both those words that are said to us and those that we say to others. In Acts 1:8, just before Jesus ascends into heaven, he says to his followers, “…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 ends of the earth.” These last words of Jesus are an invitation to each of us to be witnesses in our homes, our neighborhoods, our places of work, where we do our living, wherever it is that we find ourselves, and to the very ends of the earth.
As we continue to emerge from this very long season in which we haven’t totally been able to be in person with one another, I would invite us and challenge us to think about what it means for each of us to be a witness to the work of Christ in the world and our lives. I hope and pray for each of us that we would heed these last words of Jesus and live as witnesses to the unconditional love, grace, peace, forgiveness, and hope that we know through Jesus.
Rev. Dr. Kathleen Kind