Ascension ~ The Final Blessing

Scripture     Luke 24: 46-53


 “And see, I am sending upon you

what my Father promised;

so stay here in the city

until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,

And lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them

and was carried up into heaven.

And they worshipped him…



Jesus extended an invitation to his Eleven to come to a meeting. Come up to a very familiar hill where we have often sat and shared. The Mount of Ascension was their meeting place. They go, expecting to meet their Master. I don’t suppose they knew it was to be the last visit; there had been other visits. Do any of us know when it will be the last visit? None of us knows it is going to be the last!  Jesus realized it was his time to farewell, time for him to depart. He has completed his paschal journey. He has done his destiny. He has accomplished the fullness of what he was sent to do. And he has helped his early disciples walk the journey with him.    



And from the Mount of Ascension where they gather, he speaks some very powerful words to them and they ring out to us today. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” And I am passing this power on to each one of you. This is the only power we have to live the rest of our lives. The power of God and it will live with us and it will be with us until the end of time.  "My power will be with you and that will be enough.”



The second mandate He gives that afternoon on the hill is “Go, my brothers, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. Go now – I am sending you in My power  -  make disciples of all peoples, of all nations, right to the very ends of the earth.” And his last words: “Know that I am with you always.”  And then angels came and he was lifted up and taken from their sight. Just imagine those first bedazzled disciples hearing in the core of their beings, these strong words that they are going to have the power of Jesus in them. Imagine that. He is counting on us Eleven to do something like, take “this message” to all the ends of the earth! Truly, God has ‘big’ plans for us. 



Our Ascension experience is about being ready to receive ‘the big plans’ of God for our lives too. We must believe his final words of blessing: I have a big work for you. I have a big mission for you and you will do it in the power of my name. I am now living in you. “I am sending upon you what my Father promised - my Spirit will cloth you with power!” You have an inward knowing already.  God is taking you, luring you, loving you. God has big dreams for you and says I can accomplish them in you and through you, if you will let me.



So before we leave our hill of ascension we have a couple things to do, as those early disciples did. This is the day you take a deep breath and say, “no more”. This is the day of decision when I declare that I refuse to cling to my old story of pain and woundedness anymore. I do not want to keep myself trapped in my past. It is time to be up and away, to go with staff in hand, putting a mantle around my shoulders and look out into the future. It is time now to step out with grace and courage! My mission lies before me. There is a big picture. I will let my “old story” ascend! Let it go! I may wish to have a ritual of some sort to celebrate this day of moving on. I might burn some logs in the fireplace, visit a gravesite, take down out of sight the wounded things that haunt me and remind me of my suffering. I am now in this new place in the paschal cycle of my life and God’s life and God’s love want to completely fill me. And I will let ‘the old story’ go and let it give me its blessing. That cup of suffering that I picked up some time ago and carried all these years has made me strong, given me character, integrity. Enduring the suffering has filled us with empathy and compassion. Divine Love has been inflowing into us as we were being purified of all that was false and inauthentic. People in the world today need to meet folks like this. Some of us need to be transformed this far along in the journey to give hope and direction to others.



Here is a wonderful “Letting Go” Mantra Prayer one might say over and over…"I release you. I release me. I set you free. I set me free. I love you. I love me. " ASCENSION is a wonderfully celebrative day! There is a second work of ascension. That is, be sure you know your unique Mission. The angel appears to them after Jesus disappears into a cloud and asks them:  “Why are you looking up into the heavens?” You must now rather look out at the harvest – the wheat fields are ready – go out and spread the good news. You must take the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Go and be heralds. Go out to the entire world. I will be with you always! The power from on high will work in you. Their sending forth and being made a disciple is like “having had a spiritual awakening," they must go out now and pay forward by helping others. Go and be a guide to others, support and mentor another soul on their paschal journey. Just before Jesus departs this earth, he gives his rather shaky group of followers this counsel: Return to the city and don’t leave until you feel yourself clothed with power from on high.” So to the upper room they went and waited together - until they felt the fire of Pentecost.



Carrying Grace   I will stay here in the city. I will be clothed with Spirit power. All will be well.



#4 Mark Dickinson 2010-05-17 00:18
I could not agree more! Thank you Rosemary!!
#3 arletteh 2010-05-17 00:00
"Love calls us to come home." Thank you, markd.We are called home to our true selves by Love. It becomes easier to surrender then,no matter the cost for we know Love,and Love calls us ever deeper.--Rosema ry,we are so grateful for your insightful, faithful,tremen dous,extensive, reflections.
#2 Mark Dickinson 2010-05-16 00:41
The transforming power of the ascension, as with the power of the resurrection, carries a deeply personal message for each of us. Jesus rises into a complete spiritual unity with God. It is a deeper unity than he experienced in the physical body; his ascension reminds us of the final destination each one of us will one day experience -- a life immersed in the belovedness of God.
The message, and significance, of the resurrection points us to our true mission as people of God: we walk in the Way of Jesus knowing that one day our life will merge with the Life of our Creator ... the Life of our Teacher .... the Life that calls each one of us to know a Divine Love.
We ascend and disperse in love knowing that we are called to be lovers of all, lovers of life, lovers of God. We surrender to Love ... for Love calls us to come home.
#1 arletteh 2010-05-15 23:21
The disciples are to wait in Jerusalem,there where it is so hard to wait;the place of drastic,terrify ing change;the place of suffering;the place of surrender;the place of destiny.It is in that place that they are to stay, to wait till the power of the Spirit comes upon and within them!This place becomes a place of trust.--The second requirement is that they must now wait to know their unique destiny.They are not to " miss the mark ",each of their particular, specific, unique destiny of bringing this good news to the world."Nothing do i want", until the Spirit shows me the way.No rushing out frantically;jus t waiting for the power of the Spirit. They will know it when it comes, when it is there, within them!."I will wait here in the cityI will be clothed with the Spirit's power."

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