New International Version (NIV)
The Ascension of Jesus50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
We are forgoing the traditional sermon message this Sunday morning in order to deliver a worshipful experience to honor our mothers and prepare for Pentecost.
Let me say a couple of things about this Sunday morning....
We honor our mothers...
We lift up the women in our lives who have nurtured us and helped us to grow up and become the people we are in this world. Without their guidance and correction, in many cases, we might not have the lives that we have before us. Not everyone's memories are nice. Maybe, not everyone's experience with their mother was something to remember. But, God gave us a mother. And, in some cases, we have had surrogates, grandmother, aunts, people who have filled the void. Without the women in our lives, we as children, could not have grown and prospered into the human being we are supposed to be.
Today is Ascension Sunday...
Our scripture today speaks of the disciples having one last encounter with Jesus.
They go out to Bethany where they witness him ascending through the clouds.
It is the last time they will see him face to face. The last time they get to hug him, to talk to him.
This is a personal moment, one that we should be able to relate to. We want to be close to those we cannot fellowship with anymore. The disciples are wishing they could be with Jesus. But, the scripture says "worshiped him with great joy" and "And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." That is what we aim to do today. To praise God and lift up the name of Jesus.
Heaven is the focal point.....
The disciples are basically watching Jesus go to heaven. Many of us have watched loved ones go on to be with the Lord. We have been there in those final moments. And, we long to be where they are and see them again. A sign I recently saw on Facebook read, "I wish heaven had visiting hours". Many of our mothers and grandmothers, our aunt and neighbors who encouraged us, fed us, clothed us, fixed our scraped up knees, they have gone to be with Jesus. Some day we will see them again. But, today, we will sing and praise God, and wait.
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory