We often reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on May 25, 2017.
Prayer: As we celebrate your ascension this day, Jesus, help us to remember your promises and the fulfillment of those promises in our lives. Amen.
Reading: Acts 1: 1-14 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: In the front of my childhood church is a painting of Jesus ascending to heaven. The ceiling of the chancel is painted with clouds. Every week worshipping there, it was a reminder of this important day in the church year.
It’s Ascension Day! Forty days after Easter, we remember when Jesus ascended to the Father. In today’s scripture reading, we actually see three smaller stories which I think all tie today. We are reminded of how Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit after he had ascended; we see the actual ascension; then we see Matthias becoming the twelfth disciple.
A learned man of the scriptures said to me time and time again, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” I think this story today reminds me of his words. God promised us the Holy Spirit and Jesus said he would go to the Father. It happened. And, we see the Holy Spirit at work in the picking of the newest disciple. I think of this story often because when I was trying to make an important work decision early in my career, I read the story of Matthias and it helped me with that decision. God was guiding me, too.
Take some time today to think about God’s promises and how those promises come true in your life. And, remember that while it is often shoved aside for more glamorous events like birth and resurrection, the ascension is indeed a very important day each year.
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