With You to The End
May 14, 2015
by Scott Gunn
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven is one of the stranger occurrences in the Bible. The idea of this day—the fantastic notion that Jesus ascended into heaven—can seem distant from our faith in a scientific age.
We should not let questions about the physics of the day interfere with our understanding of its meaning. Before he departed, Jesus blessed his followers and trusted them to carry on the work of being loving, incarnate in a broken world. Jesus’ words to his disciples as he was leaving are recounted in Matthew 28:20. He says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Today, two thousand years later, that is still true. Jesus asks us to carry on his work—sharing God’s love, spreading the kingdom, and inviting people into closer relationship with God. It’s a big job. We cannot do it on our own.
We need God to do the work that we are given. When we read the newspaper or look at our world, it’s not hard to see the need for God’s love. Perhaps we know fear in our own lives—fear of the unknown, fear of an uncertain economy, fear for our safety, fear of changes too vast to comprehend.
Fortunately, we do not face this world alone. We have God, and we have one another. As we gather in church or in prayer, we are reminded that in Christ we are one mystical body, together seeking to carry on God’s saving love for the whole world. As we enter a world that can seem scary, let us go forth knowing that Jesus has blessed us to do the work that God asks of us.
Note: This reflection originally appeared in Walking with God Day by Day (Forward Movement, 2012).
Imagine what the church might do in the world if we lived in a place of hope and trust, and not in a place of fear. Chat with a friend and think big thoughts. Say a prayer, and get started!