This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Amanda Golbek,
First Pres minister of children and youth.
Today is one of the underplayed celebrations in the church year. Forty days after the Resurrection, we remember the Ascension – today is Ascension day.
After coming into fleshly being at Christmas, post-Resurrection, we observe the reverse journey, as Jesus ascends to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father, where he takes his place as ruler of all. We sit only 10 days away from our celebration of Pentecost, where we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to us, a gift that has enabled us to continue to experience Christ in our everyday lives ever since, moving in and through us to continue the redeeming work begun through Jesus’ Resurrection.
I tend to be partial to the under-sung holidays of the church year that we downplay or overlook. I find that they typically point us to an aspect of faith that is essential but challenging to embrace. This is probably why Hallmark passed on capitalizing off of a day like today: ascending feet aren’t as cute as a baby and bunnies.
The Ascension points us towards an important reality, the fact that we have been handed a call. The work of ministry has been multiplied beyond the singular embodied Christ to the body of Christ expressed through the church. Jesus ascends not because the work is done, not because the Kingdom has come in its fullness. Jesus ascends, leaving us to be His hands and feet, through the power of the Holy Spirit to continue the work of the in-breaking Kingdom.
We tend to interpret our call to be the embodiment of Christ here on earth as a call to Mission, to service, to helping the poor and feeding the hungry. These are important ways of sharing Christ, but they are only one aspect.
The Surgeon General of the United States recently issued an advisory about the public health crisis of loneliness. In his letter, he remarked about his experience touring and speaking with people around the country:
“People began to tell me they felt isolated, invisible, and insignificant. Even when they couldn’t put their finger on the word ‘lonely,’ time and time again, people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, from every corner of the country, would tell me, ‘I have to shoulder all of life’s burdens by myself,’ or ‘if I disappear tomorrow, no one will even notice.’”
Read the above statement again.
This is our call as a church; this is the call that Jesus handed down on Ascension. We are called to search for all those who are lost, lonely, isolated, and hurting. We are called to befriend, care, and walk with them. Honestly, that search won’t require much effort.
Here is the other piece: while we think about this in terms of our corporate call as the body of Christ in the church. This call is individual – it isn’t up to an evangelism team, or the community life team, or the pastoral care team. The call placed on us through the Ascension has been handed to EACH of us. As we walk through this Ascension Day and prepare for Pentecost, let us embrace our call. Pick up your phone and send that text of encouragement to the friend you lost touch with. Call the neighbor that lives on their own and invite them for coffee. Invite someone new into your small group. Go see and cheer on a young person you know in their sports game or play, or any other activity. Send a card letting someone know you are thinking about them.
Let your heart make its own “Hallmark” message, whatever God moves YOU to do.
I hope you will continue on the journey to Pentecost with us this Sunday, as we hear from Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell who will preach a sermon titled “What Does it Take to Change the World?”.
Yours in Christ,
Minister of Children and Youth