Sunday After Ascension

2021-05-16 – Year B – Sunday After the Ascension – The Rev. Steven Edwards
Exodus 28:1-4, 9-10, 29-30; Psalm 68:1-20; 1 John 5:6-15; John 17:11b-19

Jesus is the lamb of God who takes a way the sins of the world; He is the Son of God, who in love, did enact the will & provision of God, our Father. Jesus, humbled himself,( for us), as an offering unto death, upon a cross,(to remove) removing every manner of separation between us and the Father. And by leading men, (by) in His word and action demonstrated / showed the way for all mankind, the means for/of a genuinely fulfilling and loving personal relationship with God, (our Heavenly Father). He gained the release of men, bound in sin against God, and one another; that (we) they might truly and effectively love, and even come to know (life worth living, eternally) eternal life. Acknowledging sin as the way of death; and God’s plan of salvation, (toward men) the way of eternal life. As we come to recognize sin for what it is, the way of, and an alliance, with the evil one, who distorts the truth and seeks the of men, fall from the loving presence of God.        Sin has a creeping, lurking way of dragging men down, such that unless rescued, thru the grace of God, in Jesus Christ, sins will consume a man, into the dark depths of hell; that place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, where we are denied every comfort, everything we[se1]  love and any evidence of peace. Jesus fulfilled the law of God, as a true and righteous guide, for the way that a man should live; and in the Son, Jesus, we (may) come to know the (very)heart of God, who loves us. Jesus taught(that) it is that which dwells in the heart of a man, either God who makes him pure, or evil, which defiles him.   Envy, self-pride, jealousy, will lead (drive) us (into) to manipulate others, to defame them of the glory of God. Unwittingly, to claim for ourselves, the glory due to God in His provision for each, whom He has created, He created us for His love and blessing. Jesus leads us to look up; casting our eyes upon our him as our Savior, the we are not abandoned into agony in magnification of our sin, an impure thought or a careless act; but may avail ourselves of His way in forgiveness and restoration of peace in His presence. 

Because of His purity, Himself, the offering and propitiation, our sins are defeated; and we are forgiven; and we are lifted into presence & the welcome arms of God; and brief/ first glimpse of heaven (which is) our hope and is fulfilled in Him. Not lost, as the spiritually blind, into the ranks of the forgotten, but granted, that, we may see in Him, the way, the life ahead, opened, that we may turn & repent of our sins, and confess our failing, our weakness, our need our hope to Him, who is empowered, and is willing, to grant us forgiveness. The mercies of God towards us, are renewed every day, as we seek Him in sincerity, with our whole heart.

Jesus is the way of God, God revealed directly into our hearts. There is none other, no other redeeming Savior. It is in the way of Christ, who leads us, shows us the grace and love of the Father. In Him we are set free, to know Him, His truth in us. He is not distant, nor hidden; He is always before us. Ever present. He is before all time; He is eternal; his promise is fulfilled in the way of life.

In our Gospel today, we can envision the face of our Savior, Jesus, intent/ focused on the lives, the safety, the good and wellbeing of His disciples, His value and will is evident, that they be enabled to continue His ministry and calling, to the benefit of all mankind.   He offers himself in prayer, that they may follow him, in His hope and provision for those who remain, and for those yet to come, by their witness, in His name; the Name given him by the Father. Jesus prays Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me,                                 

In the context of our Gospel, we see that Jesus will soon return to the Father in Heaven, and is assuring, us of every provision that we may continue and remain in the Lord’s immediate care and protection; while he, Jesus, will be bodily absent from us. We may be assured, God’s love for us is never ending.         We too, know that we are counted in (within) that same provision, with those present at the time of his prayer,     listen to Christ’s words in John 17:20  20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their         word,                              that they all may be one. Jesus calls all men to His grace and salvation and His glorious ministry of freedom to know God, and to share as brothers and sisters, as one, in the Kingdom of God on the earth and in heaven.

This is the work of believers, that He has prepared for His disciples and for us who follow now, in his way, to proclaim the Good News of God toward all men. That we may know and receive His provision, and live in the fullness of his way, and blessing unto us and for all mankind, that we may be led in the way of peace. Peace in God, himself, overflowing into our hearts and souls to assure us, in every circumstance, everlasting truth and hope, He has granted vision in us. He who is and was and ever shall be; Lord, Savior, God with us, Jesus, is His name. In Him are we brought forward into grace. The Grace and good news which is for all mankind. Power / the authority of His Name to reject the evil one; so that we are enabled, in Him, to prevail, by His hope and joy within us.

Hear these words of Jesus prayer to the Father: 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my     joy fulfilled in themselves.               It was Jesus’s joy to bring the Good News of God’s favor for the lives of men; that they, as believers, may continue in the work of Christ, in the anointing of God’s provision and protection. And in their work & hope they might be bound together as one, as Christ and the Father are one. We pray for the Holy catholic and apostolic Church; for there is but one God, whom we may serve in freedom and are faithfully kept in the Promise of His Word & by His Holy Spirit, granted unto us. By believing prayer, we may continue as witnesses of God’s miracles on earth. Jesus said to the disciples when they asked,  are you the one to come; or are to expect another:

Luke7 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepersare cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.

And it does not end with Jesus’s Ascension into Heaven; be assured in this:

John 14:12-14 12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

This is God’s word!    This is God’s call to us, that we may be united with Him, in hope and prayer for ourselves and the world; asking in faith and in the Holy Spirit for the for the furthering of God’s work in us and through us. Glory be to God; what an awesome God we serve!

We thank you God, that you readily lead us, in the continuing ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by your Holy Spirit’s anointing & His dwelling in us, your Word in Truth, and its faithful witness, and you have established, for us, your Holy Church. Your Church remains the faithful bride of Christ and has stood and honored the testing of truth and time. Evident from the foundational day, the 1st Sunday after Ascension, when the body faithful was enabled, by the provision of your grace, to move and witness to/of/for your Glory, and its way in life for us, even after, Christ’s return into in Heaven. I consider this Sunday a milestone / significant day in the establishment of the Church, that it shall fulfill His promise and remain and prevail against the gates of hell, for us until His return. The blessing of the continuing ministry of Christ, among all people & in those whom you have redeemed. We, in faith believing, have journeyed with His disciples as they struggled in the limits of their human understanding to grasp the fullness of Jesus ministry unto men. The joys, the awesomeness of Him and His wisdom & His power from on high, the miracles at his hands proclaiming glory unto God the Father. Their despair and sadness & fear at his crucifixion. The wonder of his resurrection, the fullness of joy at his return into their midst. And then, his Ascension into Heaven, before their very eyes!  But what then? He has given them a new task; how will they sustain it, how will they recall all the words of God spoken for all mankind. How will we go thru out the earth, baptizing and making disciples of all nations?  And here we find those disciples / believers before us, on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the first of many where men on earth, see Jesus, only with the eyes of the Spirit; and answer the call to love him, fully, in their hearts, without the physical sensation of his touch.    This is an awe-inspiring day in the establishment of the Church. For what is impossible for man; is fully possible with God. For God is with us! Everything ahead is new. At Jesus Crucifixion, the disciples likely felt lost & defeated; but now having seen him again, after his death, he is in fact raised from the dead, just as he said he would be, on the 3rd day. Then they with fear and doubt removed, as He now stood and spoke with them, all that lay ahead must be within His power & promise and vision, just as He said; just as proclaimed by God’s Prophets of old and recorded in the Holy Scriptures.

To your glory Lord, you bring renewal of life in man through your presence in the Holy Sacraments and the power of your Holy Word. Your Church is a landmark upon our hearts, which are forever changed in you; kept safe until your return. For we do not fear; but share your love as we prepare, in anticipation of your bodily return, when you will come in the sight of the whole world at once, as you descend thru the clouds in triumph with the Angelic Hosts of heaven. For now, the world does not see you; but you are present in us, for it is your promise to dwell with us forever. We cannot do this of our own, but in the provision of God, as we, bound together, in the unity of Christ, who dwells in our hearts and we, aided by the Church, shall lead us to proclaim His goodness; and by His resurrection, newness of life everlasting. Let us be advanced into the joy of His presence, in his loving grace & provision, fulfilled forever in life with Him.

Glory be to God, in the name of the Father, and of the Son & the Holy Spirit


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