5/23/04 , Ascension Sunday, Year C
happiest decision my mother ever made was to go back to teaching. She
had stayed home with my brother and me, but when I was about nine years
old she was free to soar. She was on tiptoes as she entered a first
grade classroom. She picked out and purchased her first car, a 1953,
four tones, Buick, Special with the three fake exhaust holes in
the side of the front fenders. She was the same person but was liberated
to a new level of existence.
At age ninety-four in her last conversation on earth, Mother shared her slight reluctance to be transitioned from this world into the next. It is only natural to feel some fear. However, realizing her age and that there was little hope of physical recovery; she was at the same time anticipating her new life in Glory. I asked her if she remembered her '53 Buick and her face lit up. She asked what had happened to her 1958 model which had the tall fish fins on the back, and I reminded her that she had traded for several others since the. I told her that her most recent Buick was parked in a parking lot nearby and was ready for her. I think she knew that I was talking about a celestial model.
As so, we find Jesus accepting his transition back to the right hand of the Father sitting on the throne. He knew that the age of the Holy Spirit would not be possible if he held on to his earthly life, although he must have been somewhat sad to move on. In another way of understanding the triune nature of God, Jesus would actually return to earth again as the Holy Spirit, for Jesus was God and; and thus, Jesus was indeed the Holy Spirit. In Trinitarian language we refer to God the Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, the Son seated on his right hand, and the Holy Spirit in today's world as God's presence in our lives.
So we find Jesus caught between two worlds: This transitory, temporary life on earth, and the next level which will be permanent in heaven.
It was only natural that when Jesus was ascending bodily into heaven that his friends and disciples stared up into the sky, sad to see him go. But two of God's special Angels comforted Jesus' friends with the assurance that they would experience this same Jesus in their hearts when his Holy Spirit would come in just a few days. For us, we celebrate our annual observance of Pentecost Sunday next week. However, like the first disciples of Christ, we have opened our hearts up to receive the Holy Spirit and God has intimately walked with us and talked with us ever since. With every breath we breathe, we feel the love of God the Father, the presence of Jesus Christ His Son, and the assurance of the Holy Spirit every moment of every day.
I can also say that since my dear Mother and Father have passed on into the presence of God the Father, with Jesus at His right hand, I often feel closer to them than I did when I was separated from them for so long by the many miles between Georgia and North Carolina.
Jesus' ascension was his opportunity to go back to heaven permanently, and sit on His Throne next to His Father. He intercedes for us in our prayers and, He will greet us in Glory, someday. Yesterday, when I told Marilyn how I planned to end the sermon, she said, “Well Jesus deserved it; He did so much for us!” None of us could disagree.
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor