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May 13, 2018

Awake Your Faith

Awake Your Faith

Passage: John 17:6-19

Speaker: Father Will Lowry

Series: All

Category: All

Keywords: ascension

There is one more thing that we are to do. One more commandment Jesus gives us. And it has to do with love.

Does anyone else find it a bit odd that the disciples’ last view of their best friend, their teacher, the one they left everything behind for, was the bottom of His feet? 

This image of the Ascension event is no doubt the prevailing idea of the feast day. (Which by the way was actually on Thursday, 40 days after Easter. But, thankfully, we are allowed to transfer this feast day to the nearest Sunday.) At any rate, I digress.

My point is that the seemingly magical event of Jesus floating off into the clouds while blessing the disciples continues to be the mental picture that the Feast of the Ascension will not let us forget. But, that is only one verse of this theologically bulky occasion.

David Cunningham, author of a commentary I read puts it this way: “Ascension Day is not so much about the physical act of ascension, or even about the reuniting of the incarnate Word with the unbegotten Source. Rather it is concerned with the divine act of making space so that the mission of the church can begin.” He continues, “So long as Jesus was in the world in human form, all eyes and hearts were fixed there. Jesus’ ascension makes space for the disciples to turn their gaze upon the world, where ‘repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in the Messiah’s name to ALL nations.’”[1]

The Ascension “is concerned with the divine act of making space so that the mission of the church can begin”. So that repentance and forgiveness of sins” can be proclaimed in the Messiah’s name to all nations. (Luke 24: 47)

Wow! Talk about a nutshell. I have this inkling just to stop right here. Enough said. Mic drop. 

But, I haven’t preached in like three weeks.

There really is only a little more that I can say. Sometimes it is best to allow the Gospel to speak for itself.

Each week we come here, gather together and give thanks, give praise, take bread and wine and eat and drink it we are doing what the disciples did - we are following their example of worshiping and blessing God with great joy.

There is one more thing that we are to do. One more commandment Jesus gives us. And it has to do with love. We are to show God’s love that we receive here each week - in community with God and with each other by showing that repentance and forgiveness of sins is here for “all nations” - we are to embody that wonderful Good and Grace-filled News to Everyone. 

David Cunningham also pointed to Shakespeare for a final word regarding our (divine) appointment to being the Church in the world.

In the play The Winter’s Tale Leontes, the main character, is instructed by the wise-woman, Paulina, “It is required, You do awake your faith.” 

These are words to us, Jesus’ disciples, God’s Church in the world. Awake your faith, believe, go, do.

Amen.

[1] David Cunningham, Feasting on the Word, Year B, vol. 2, pg. 522

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash