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Pastoral Scene

Seventh Sunday of Easter
Ascension
12 May 2024

PREPARATION

Okay Weird week because there are two options. One is to focus on the last week of Easter or the Ascension. If you have looked at the Pew Sheet you will note they are not the same as these ones. This is because these are the readings for Ascension. Ascension is the day Jesus left aft 40 days of being with the disciples. Jesus left to prepare a place for the Holy Spirit to come. We remember it because after Jesus left the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit. it is a time thing. The Holy Spirit did not just turn up. So let us look at this event as it is reflected in the readings.  

Acts 1:1-11

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But 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.’ 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

 

REFLECTION
Pretty fascinating story. How can we believe it?  Luke was not a fiction writer, but a historian. His aim was to reflect the event in time Though he was not an eye witness the people he spoke to were. This account is where we realize Jesus was with them for forty days. The focal point though is not about Jesus leaving, Jesus message to them is for them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Angels question them about why they are looking at his going, they need to live for his coming again. 

Psalm 93

1 The Lord is king, and has put on robes of glory:

the Lord has put on his glory,

he has girded himself with strength.

2 He has made the world so firm:

that it cannot be moved.

3 Your throne is established from of old:

you are from everlasting.

4 The floods have lifted up, O Lord,

the floods have lifted up their voice:

the floods lift up their pounding.

5 But mightier than the sound of many waters,

than the mighty waters or the breakers of the sea:

the Lord on high is mighty.

6 Your decrees are very sure:

and holiness, O Lord, adorns your house for ever.

 

Second Reading

Ephesians 1:15-23

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

 

REFLECTION

This is an interesting perspective of the Holy Spirit. For us it is the giver of wisdom and understanding about God's work among us and for us, and how God worked to place Jesus in his position of power and authority over all things for all times. We will not see this rule by our human eyes, but through the Holy Spirit revealing it to us.

Gospel

Mark 16:15-20

15 And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

REFLECTION

In Marks account of Jesus' Ascension the focus is on the telling the disciples to go and finish his works in the world.  The reason we are told this is not to know what Jesus told them, but to know what Jesus expects of all his followers. THese words are to us. How does it look in action though?

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