Ascension is for....worriers
Sunday is Ascension Sunday and I admit as I begin my sermon that Ascension has always been a bit awkward for me. Oh I believe it. I just can't fully explain it and understand the mechanics of it. Maybe it's the quiet Swede in me that turns away from the ostentatious and spectacular. I gravitate to the quieter walk on the road to Emmaus or the woman at the well.
But this year I'm jumping right into the Ascension of Jesus. I still don't get the mechanics of it all, but I got blessed in a sideways sort of way. I've been worrying a lot lately. I read newspapers (2) and news magazines (2) and cruise news web-sites (too many to admit). There is a lot of seriously bad news out there; about the economy (national & global) about the environment and extreme weather, about irresponsible leaders, about trend lines for Baby Boomers. There is a lot of worry in the church. The latest edition of "The Christian Century" has an article about "The Dismembered Church; attending without joining." I can fully embrace all that worry. Where are attenders who used to be here? Where is giving that used to be here? Why is it so hard to find leaders and small groups who are open to new people? What's with the trouble in marriages among believers? And my frown lines deepen as I flit from bad news to bad news.
The Ascension grabbed me. Jesus is on the throne with his Father, not was. Jesus is actively reigning right now as I write this, not on hiatus or vacation. Jesus is working the plan for the universe right now. Jesus is not, I believe, fretting and worried about all these things I've listed above. He is reigning well, not poorly or ineffectively. His ascension presence reminds me that the plan is in place and operating. My responsibility is to worship, wait and obey him. Whew!