Guest Preacher: Rev. Beth Anne Crego, Westwood United Methodist Church

The disciples and others throughout the millennia have done their jobs; so, how will others get to know God’s saving grace and the power—how will Christ’s love find them—if not through us? We are in the time between the Ascension and Jesus’ return. The Kingdom of God has come, but not yet here in all its fullness and completeness. As we wait for God’s Kingdom to come when Christ returns, we have been given the task of carrying on Christ’s ministry. As we wait, we are called on to trust in the Lord, remembering that He has all power and authority, and that He has promised his continual presence. When those disciples had seen Jesus ascend they went back to Jerusalem where they worshipped God. Today let us join with them and with those gathered around the heavenly throne and give glory to our ascended Lord and King who has promised His help and presence as we live in this age before His Second Coming. Let’s get on with it and live for Jesus carrying out the task, the ministry, He has given us to do.

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[c] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you 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.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Gospel Reading: Luke 24:44-53

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.