Special Sermons, Readings, and
Words of Inspiration and/or
Something to make you smile
There have been a lot of ascensions, those mysterious moments when holy people have risen up into the air and disappeared into the clouds, and more than likely into the heavens of God somewhere way out there beyond our universe, beyond our imagination. I love that thought.Breaking away from the hold of gravity is a challenge, as our astronauts well know. Getting high in the sky is a tough, expensive effort to see what is up there, be it a human flight in a plane or rocket or a machine wandering among the stars. There is something marvelous about flying and being as physically high as one can get over this earth. I feel it draws mountain climbers to the highest peaks in the world. How high can one get? How close to heaven? Surely, many of us have experienced, what one might call, a rise up in the air, or lifting up or some flying experience, real or imaginative, a moment away from earth, although in the end, we are sucked back down to terra firma.
Not Jesus. He, above all, knew his destination, where He was ascending. His was a return to His Place with His Father, the one who created earth, the universe, even us. Jesus ascended as a true human being well covered in remnants and marks of what he had just been through - cuts on his arms, legs, head, bruises, nail scars, spear wounds on his belly - all on account of us. He could not die on earth. That would have cemented His being on the earth forever. That was not in His plan. Jesus was The Holy Only Son of God ready to return home to His Father. As He ascended, His spirit, the Advocate, was descending to live in those of us who believed in Him. He would be in every single human on earth, but many did not know it, believe it, or trust it. No matter what we do, who we are, it has always been God’s promise not ever to leave us alone.
God, at moments in time, has given the most righteous of men and surely women, who have been part of the evolution of this land, a foretaste of heaven by bringing them up for a look, often before their imminent death - Adam, Seth, Enoch, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Levi, Moses, Elijah, Micah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Baruch, as well as Muhammed the Prophet and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who at her death ascended from her small home in Ephesus, Turkey, where the apostle John had cared for her.( I have been blessed to have visited there, to kneel in that simple stone castle, and walk the garden. A place of peace and hope.) Even St. Paul said he had visited the third heaven and paradise where “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.”
Jesus’s ascension has been a popular subject in art - well robed, with hair down to his shoulders, too caucasian of a face for someone born in the Middle East, His arms outstretched in the air repeating the pose He experienced hanging on the cross. His body glowed like sunlight, having completed His promise, His task, His glory, now going home by the sky highway to be again with his Father. There, with the Holy Spirit, they would be able to save us all down below. So He was lifted up or exalted and the cloud absorbed him, received him, embracing him with the Divine Presence.
Those, who saw Jesus leave, were aghast and stood and waited and watched til He was not visible anymore, there being no fancy telescopes in those days, and I wonder if they worried if He would drop, fall, land on His feet again to sooth their fears, or was He truly gone for good. Surely confusion reign among those who accompanied him to that last step on earth. I can imagine his followers, eyes teary, heads looking up, hands shielding their faces from the glorious sun, or surely raised in prayer and thanksgiving and maybe even song. “Go, Christ our savior, we love you forever.” They, being awed, at least understood.
Then they surely mumbled among themselves - At least we have the Holy Spirit in our souls to guide us and that means now each one of us have Christ in us. We must be quiet and listen to His Words and do them. At least the world has been redeemed. This was round one. We pray it will happen again.
Jesus is now up there on the right hand of his father. Will He come again, as promised, to judge us, alive or dead? Does that mean bodies or souls? What about the good people who have been cremated? and soldiers buried in holes and rivers of enemy territory during war, those who still sacrifice their lives for us, and those murdered or assassinated never to be found again. And now, 2000 years later, we sadly lift up to Him the victims of another virus which has choked off people’s lives too quickly, too violently, because there is no cure and too much confusion and politics, so far. Is it about power or about people?
The point is Ascension Day is a day, to thank our God for having shared His Son with us, a human man who taught us how to believe, to behave, to love, to know and worship God the Father, and who gifted us with a farewell promise - that He will return and take us to join Him in Heaven.
The Rev. Audrey Taylor Gonzalez is sharing her Sermons with All Saints' Episcopal
Click on her website for more inspirational sermons!
A happy: Remember wishing the weekend would last forever? Happy Now????