Dear disciples of Jesus at Immanuel Lutheran,

Today, May 21st, is Ascension Day in the church year, the day commemorating Jesus ascending to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. We will hear one of the accounts of this story in worship this Sunday (Acts 1:6-14). Knowing his departure would be especially hard on the disciples, Jesus reassures them with the promise that they would not be left alone. The Spirit would soon come.

In the Gospel this week, Jesus prays “that they may be one” (John 17:11), as they wait for the Spirit to come. As they stay together, and stay close to God, they support one another in their grief while being strengthened for their mission.

In her Blessing for Ascension Day, poet Jan Richardson’s words that were written seven years ago, take on added meaning for us this year, encouraging us to stay connected and turn toward one another as we too await the Holy Spirit.

May we be one,
Pastor Gretchen

A Blessing for Ascension Day
I know how your mind
rushes ahead
trying to fathom
what could follow this.
What will you do,
where will you go,
how will you live?

You will want to
outrun the grief.
You will want
to keep turning toward
the horizon,
watching for what was lost
to come back,
to return to you
and never leave again.

For now
hear me when I say
all you need to do
is to still yourself
is to turn toward one another
is to stay.

and see what comes
to fill
the gaping hole
in your chest.
Wait with your hands open
to receive what could never come
except to what is empty
and hollow.

You cannot know it now,
cannot even imagine,
what lies ahead,
but I tell you
the day is coming
when breath will
fill your lungs
as it never has before
and with your own ears
you will hear words
coming to you new
and startling.
You will dream dreams
and you will see the world
ablaze with blessing.

Wait for it.
Still yourself.