By Joyce D. Sohl
At Vespers & All That Jazz on Sunday, May 18 we will observe Ascension Day using the scripture, Luke 24:44-53. Ascension Day, the day Jesus left the earth. As it is written: “he took his leave, being carried up to heaven.” Some people get all tied up in knots about the actual ascension. Did it really happen? If so, how? Do I have to believe such a story? With all the wondering and disbelief, we miss the core of the scripture story. (Read carefully Luke 24:44-53)
The passage centers on Jesus giving to the disciples their last study of the scriptures to increase their understanding of his reason for being. He also reminds them that they are witnesses to his way of living and following God. Jesus assures them that they will receive the necessary power to proclaim the message of Jesus to the world. In other words, Jesus let’s all his followers know that now they have work to do on his behalf!
Fred Kaan in his “A Hymn for Ascension” says it well:
Although our Lord has left us,
he leaves us not alone.
‘Ascended into heaven’,
he makes our earth his home.
Christ is alive and present
and makes us all akin;
in every human being
he walks the world again.
Christ brings, by his ‘ascending’,
God’s love to all the earth,
a cosmic new dimension
to every human birth.
The candle is extinguished
and yet the light remains;
Christ who enlightens people
is in our midst and reigns.
As you reflect on the ascension of Christ, may this be your prayer.
Dear God: Today I remember those who have been witnesses to your presence in this world – the named and unnamed, the powerful and the common, those who gave themselves to the task of peace with justice, love and reconciliation. I too am to be a witness of Jesus the Christ. Give me the courage and power.
May my life reveal God’s saving Spirit;
May my actions bring healing, help, love and life;
May I break the bread of compassion and distribute the fragments of hope;
May I be fed by your Spirit within me to truly be your witness. Amen
You are invited to join us at Vespers & All That Jazz at 6:30 PM, Wightman Chapel on Ascension Day, May 17.
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.