Tomorrow, Thursday, is Ascension Day (we’ll be celebrating the event this Sunday); 40 days after the resurrection when Jesus was physically taken up into heaven, disappearing into the clouds. His disciples stood there looking up into the sky (Acts 1) until two angels basically said “Stop that! He’ll be coming back again just as you saw Him go.” Perhaps this is where the concept of looking at God; Jesus Himself, as the “Man Upstairs” comes from. We think of Him up there in heaven and us stuck down here on earth, with some unnavigable distance between the two of us. Nothing could be further from the truth! Just before His ascension, according to Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 28) Jesus promises His disciples and us that He will always be with us, all the way until the end of time. God promises throughout the whole of Scripture; “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” The Spirit of God; of Jesus Himself, the Holy Spirit, dwells always within us. We have received this gift in Holy Baptism and though the proclamation of the Gospel. That means the very essence of the person of Jesus is with us down in the darkest valleys of this life, often carrying us through, and rejoicing with us in the highest of mountaintop experiences, as well as everywhere in between. Sure, Jesus ascended into heaven, but heaven is defined as anywhere and everywhere that Jesus is. We don’t have to look to and call upon a Man who lives somewhere upstairs. No, Jesus is right here…downstairs with us, all the time. That’s something we sinful humans tend to forget when trouble comes, and that we tend to ignore when we stumble and fall into temptation; into sinful behavior. We have a God who is here for us right here and right now, as well as a God who will be with us for all eternity, sharing His riches and glory with us in His heavenly kingdom!
Pastor Brian Albrecht has served St. John's since June of 2009