If you blink you’ll miss it! Such is the way with Ascension Day, a major Church festival, that slipped by on Thursday May 17th (40 days after Easter Day) with no bank holidays and no fanfare. I doubt the same would have been true when Jesus returned to his Father in glory. I’m sure there would have been great celebrations in heaven between the Holy Trinity and the angels at the return of their conquering hero. Mission accomplished!
In fact Ascension Day was so important to Luke that he mentioned it at the end of his Gospel and at the beginning of the book of Acts. To Luke it was the pivotal point between the mission and ministry of Jesus and the mission and ministry of the Early Church. The closing ceremony of one event becomes the curtain raiser for the next.
Just before he returns to heaven Jesus blesses his disciples, promises them his Holy Spirit and commissions them for the task ahead. The dumbstruck dis-ciples are then told by the angels that one day Jesus will return and, in the meantime, they were not to stand around with their heads in the clouds, but to get on with the job in hand. (Acts 1:11)
And that is where Christian ministry needs to be worked out; with one eye on the task ahead and the other on the return of Jesus. Maybe we shouldn’t have our heads in the clouds, but we should remember that faith in Jesus means that we too will one day share in the glory of heaven. In fact St Paul goes fur-ther by saying that through faith in Jesus we are already seated with him in heavenly places so that he might show us the riches of his grace (Ephesians 2:6,7). And that should give us a whole new perspective on our lives today.
In the tasks and challenges that face you each day, take time to step back and look at them from heaven’s perspective. What is God working out in your life long-term? Keep one eye on the task and keep the other on the return of Jesus and the glory that, by faith, you and I will share with him.
Theophilus is the guy for whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Theophilus means ‘Lover of God’ so, if you love God, it was written for you!