The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ascension People, Raise Your Voices

May 16, 2010
Ascension Sunday

Ascension People, Raise Your Voices
Ephesians 1:15-23 and Acts 1:1-14

“ will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth...” – Acts 1:8

My sermon outline:

• Great Christmas songs. (Silent Night every time we have a hymn sing)...
Great Lent songs (when I survey).
Great Easter songs. (Christ the Lord is risen today, He lives, Easter People...)
Not too many great Ascension Day hymns.

Western church focus on Easter people (hymn 304).
What are we excited about? Forgiveness. Because we like to sin (JK) (What can wash my sins away, nothing but the blood of Jesus, hymn 362).

Eastern church gets more excited about incarnation. Where we’re Easter people, they’re Christmas people, and not because of Santa Claus but because the word became flesh and dwelled among us, Light has come into the world, and through him we become children of God. (Love came down at Christmas, hymn 242, Let all mortal flesh keep silent, hymn 626)

I wonder whether we ought to be Ascension people instead. (plus there’s no hallmark cards or family gatherings, no lines at the post office or airport).

• What has Ascension Day to do with us?

• First, over 40 days (six weeks) since Easter, Jesus has been with (Jesus has been with!), offering many convincing proofs of himself alive. That’s a big deal... yeah I was having lunch with the Pres the other day – wha??!

Series of unexpected events: the death was unexpected (though Jesus talked about it)... and they abandoned. the resurrection was unexpected (though Jesus talked about it)... they went fishing. Jesus has been around for 40 days again, & the disciples wonder when Jesus will take political power, and he up and leaves em staring at the sky! Unexpected!

As unexpected as his physical presence among us right now.

• Before he ascended, gave instructions: Don’t worry about kingdom of Israel. You’ll receive power from the HS. You’ll be my witnesses.

• Heavenly announcement from behind, in case they try to go fishing again. Jesus will come again. Remember his stories about landowners going away and leaving property in the charge of his servants...You’ve got your marching orders, now hop to it, get things done, he’ll be coming back, and there’s work to do.

• Why does Jesus ascend? Cuz if he stuck around, God would have two hands and two feet, two eyes, one mouth, and one wallet. If he delegates (& he does) then he’ll have the hands and feet and eyes and mouths and wallets of his followers, & many more things can be done. If he sticks around, folks will stand around aghast hoping he’ll do another miracle or give another sign, & if he goes, his followers will be witnesses, ambassadors, they’ll receive power & go & live & love & do.

The success of McDonald’s (& other ff) was reproducibility: getting others to do the same thing the same way. & we are little Christs

• We have been Easter people, forgiven & reconciled. Let’s be Ascension people, empowered & commissioned.

• Hymn 368 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 52 in worship.


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