Thursday

21 May 2020

Luke 24:44-53

While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. (v. 51)

Psalm: Psalm 47

Background

Ascension Day, the day Jesus returned to his father, is one of the more overlooked days in our yearly Christian calendar of celebration. Yet it is a vital part of the story of Jesus’ time on earth and the continuing story of relationship between humankind and God. Easter gave us the rollercoaster of emotions the disciples and Jesus himself felt as they went from the betrayal, pain and darkness of Good Friday, to the relief, excitement and joy of Easter Sunday. Here, forty days later, we see Jesus gathering them again on the mountain in Galilee, for what must feel to the disciples like another, pain-filled goodbye. Yet another moment of grief.

Goodbyes are hard. The loss we feel in those times can be in big and small ways. It may be the missing of a faraway loved one or the life-altering death of a friend or family member, a loss of health, of a relationship, of hope, or of a dream or ambition that gave us purpose. COVID-19 has brought various kinds of losses to people across the globe including illness, death, loss of connection and freedom to name a few. As human beings we are well acquainted with loss. In those times, we all need comfort, to derive strength to stand once again and keep going from those around us through love, connection and support. To know we are not alone.

Knowing this, Jesus reminds the disciples that he is not leaving them, rather he is returning to his father, but will always be with them (Matthew 28:20), just not in the physical form in which they’ve known him. He promises (John 16:7) that he will send them a helper, a comforter, an advocate – the Holy Spirit. The message for all of us, no matter who we are, becomes clear, echoing the ‘Emmanuel’ of Jesus’ birth: God is with us and will never leave us. We are not alone.

Jesus also gives them a purpose, a calling. He blesses them and tells them to go into the entire world and make disciples – to enact all that he had told and taught them – to continue his mission and ministry. In Matthew, he follows up this calling with the words "I am with you."

Jude Trenier,  Youth Vocations and Internship Development Officer

 

To Ponder:

  • What loss are you experiencing right now where you need to know the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit, to know that you are not alone, that God is with you?
  • Take a moment and imagine you are sat on a park bench with Jesus – what loss are you experiencing that you would talk to him about? What comfort do you need from him?
  • Perhaps take time to pray, to offer those things to God. Know that God is with you always.

 


Bible notes author

Children, Youth and Family

This week's notes are provided by Children, Youth and Family. The team has a wealth of experience with children, families and young people both within the Methodist Church and in a variety of other contexts. They are responsible for the development and facilitation of 3Generate, 3Generate Reps programme, The Well learning hub for children, youth and family ministry, The One Programme, The Methodist Intern Program, and for resourcing those in Children, Youth and Family Ministry.

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