Friday, May 15, 2015

EASTER - Our mission is to hear God's voice

The feast of the Ascension is a strange celebration.

We celebrate the loss of Jesus from the Earth – the end of his earthly bodily ministry.

BUT – if we read the Gospel again we don’t actually get the feeling that the disciples were particularly glum! In fact the reading we had from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 24 ends with these verses 

“While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple blessing God.”

That sounds really good, actually.

Light years away from a family returning home to deal with a newly empty place at the table.

They returned to Jerusalem WITH GREAT JOY.

So, what had happened?

It seems that, as they obeyed the angels and turned their gaze back from the clouds to engage with the world once more, something shifted inside them.

They were now people of purpose.

They had been disciples, - students learning from the Master.

Now they were apostles – people sent by him, people who knew their calling, their God given task in the world and trusted that God would indeed equip them to fulfil it.

Before being taken to be with God (however that was accomplished) Jesus charged the Apostles to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.

And because they were in no way up to the task, Jesus made them another promise

- the promise of ‘power from on high’ – the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the comforter, the advocate, the helper. The Spirit was to be poured out in a new way, to give authority and power to their message and equip them for all they were to do.

That is why they weren’t torn by this parting – Jesus was leaving, but he was staying.

The Spirit would bring that sense of Christ into every moment – just as he had said it would.

The last thing that Jesus did before he ascended was to bless that little group huddled on the hillside.

He blessed them, not to remain there but to go and do his work in the world

That was their mission.

That is our mission.

In the meantime, we have to trust, to rely on faith, to be willing to do what God would have us do.

It means, sometimes, waiting on God, as the Apostles waited for the coming of the Spirit.

It means being open to hear God’s voice.