The Ascended Christ Sends His Spirit and Makes us One
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower his followers until his return (Acts 1:6-14). This promise gives us the strength to pray and follow God, even in the midst of suffering and anxiety. These things may last for a little while, but we are encouraged to stand firm knowing that Christ himself has prayed for us (1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11). Though orphans, he has promised us a home (Psalm 68: 1-10; 32-35). He has granted us eternal life and the fellowship of other believers, even while we wait (John 17:1-11).
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Happy Ascension Day!
By Christina Rossetti
“A Cloud received Him out of their sight.”
When Christ went up to Heaven the Apostles stayed
Gazing at Heaven with souls and wills on fire,
Their hearts on flight along the track He made,
Winged by desire.
Their silence spake: “Lord, why not follow Thee?
Home is not home without Thy Blessed Face,
Life is not life. Remember, Lord, and see,
Look back, embrace.
“Earth is one desert waste of banishment,
Life is one long-drawn anguish of decay.
Where Thou wert wont to go we also went:
Why not today?”
Nevertheless a cloud cut off their gaze:
They tarry to build up Jerusalem,
Watching for Him, while thro’ the appointed days
He watches them.
They do His Will, and doing it rejoice,
Patiently glad to spend and to be spent:
Still He speaks to them, still they hear His Voice
And are content.
For as a cloud received Him from their sight,
So with a cloud will He return ere long:
Therefore they stand on guard by day, by night,
Strenuous and strong.
They do, they dare, they beyond seven times seven
Forgive, they cry God’s mighty word aloud:
Yet sometimes haply lift tired eyes to Heaven–
“Is that His cloud?”
Jesus calls us to love one another (John 17:20-26). Just as he cared for Paul and Silas in jail (Acts 16:16-34), so he will release us from our imprisonment of sin. The heavens proclaim his power and glory (Psalm 97). Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21)!
–Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional