Yesterday was the Feast of Ascension on the Church Year Calendar. This event in the life of Jesus has been celebrated since the 4th century but many of us haven’t ever given it much thought. You can read about it in Acts 1, but this year’s lectionary finds us in the gospel of Luke and this account is much shorter.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Ascension of Jesus
50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
LUKE 24: 44-53
WHAT ABOUT BLESSING?
I had never noticed the verse “He lifted up his hands and BLESSED them.” The last thing Jesus did before he physically left the planet was to BLESS his followers. He didn’t give them a big long TO-DO list, or a set of rules they should remember, but rather he gave them a blessing!
What do you think the blessing was that Jesus gave his disciples as he ascended?
Think about what the word “Blessing” means to you. What blessing do you need from Jesus? Want do you need/want to hear from Jesus?
noun: blessing; plural noun: blessings
God’s favor and protection.
a prayer asking for God’s favor and protection. ”a priest gave a blessing as the ship was launched”
a special favor, mercy, or benefit
Check out the different Bible verses about blessing HERE.
Look at the quote below, what do you think? How does it feel to participate in God’s delight?
I met Meta through an online book study I did last fall. She is a mom, pastor and author who lives in Minneapolis. She writes wonderful books of blessings and poetry you can find on her website
You can discover more art to pray with in a slide show below created for our Thinplace gathering this week by Teri Valente.
ART SLIDE SHOW for The Ascension created by Teri Valente
Maybe like me, you could use some blessing today. I didn’t grow up in a family that was about blessing. We had loads of material blessings but the honor and favor that Jesus bestows is not something that happened to us as kids. I need to be reminded that Jesus is all about BLESSING ME AND YOU!
“A blessing evokes a privileged intimacy. It touches that membrane where the human heart cries out to its divine ground. …A blessing is not a sentiment or a question; it is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart.” John O’Donohue
Here are some words of Blessing for YOU! Which word of Blessing pops out/stands out to you that you need from Jesus now? Write it down and carry it with you today!
INVITED TO REST
HEIR of God
FILLED With JOY
FRIENDSHIP /FRIEND of God
FILLED With HOPE
FREEDOM…You are set free
SATISFIED WITH GOOD THINGS
You might choose to copy the list and cut out each word/phrase, put the words in a basket and choose one each week or every couple of days to RECEIVE from God and carry with you!
How would your life be different if you lived in the BLESSING of GOD rather than in self criticism or comparison?
Who in your life needs to receive BLESSING? How can you help bless them in the days ahead?
I am reminded of the song that helped me a lot during COVID times …. May we all choose to receive the Lord’s BLESSING this week and pass it along to others! AMEN
©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com
Available as an online course, sign up here to gain 180 days of access while you work through this retreat at your own pace. Join Lilly Lewin and Christine Sine in the awe of the broad array of summer symbols that can gain spiritual significance for us when we stop and think about them. Everything from beachcombing to putting on suntan lotion can be the inspiration for practices that draw us closer to God.
Ground yourself in the earth and its summer season where you live and find the ways that God is speaking through it – all the details can be found here!