Sunday, May 22, 2011

Station # 12: The Lord Ascends

And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Acts 1:6-11 NASB

As the actual reference to this station is italic, I included verses 6-8. With the current fascination of the end of the world, these verses from Acts are a corrective. The two words, the rapture, occur absolutely nowhere in Christian Scripture, so "the rapture" stems from something outside the text. You may be unhappy with the church that you think is corrupt, or you may reject others who don't agree with you. But be honest: these words are not in the Bible.

In this 12th Station of Light, Jesus ascends to heaven. Ascension Day is June 2 , 2011. The New Testament's message is to teach how the Lord can still be present even though he has departed. The teaching of "I am with you always" from Matthew 28 comes in light of the fact of Jesus' absence, his departure. The challenge for disciples is waiting in obedience.

One of the hardest things for me is patience. "Patience is the major virtue needed when we are in the bleak land of darkness," wrote Joyce Rupp, in Little Pieces of Light. If you have patience, you have many of the other fruits: faithfulness, peace, and gentleness come to mind. When things don't go the way we want when we want it, our faith and trust can blossom into patience. If patience is learned at all, we learn it in the school of prayer with Jesus, crucified, risen, and ascended.

He is ruler of all creation, now and forever. That should be enough for us, for now and forever.

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