Ascension Day is the coronation celebration of the Lord as He is proclaimed to be King of the universe. Jesus’ ascension to the Father is His entrance to the greater existence beyond the confines of time and space, being no longer bound by the limitations of His state of humiliation. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, which Luther correctly taught is everywhere, having again taken up the power and authority that were His since before time. Yet our Lord is present with us who remain bound by time and space. He is with us as true God and true man, exercising His rulership in the Church through the Means of Grace that He established, His Word and His Sacraments. We mortals in those Means of Grace can grasp the King of the universe and receive a foretaste of the feast to come.
Psalmody: Psalm 130
Additional Psalm: Psalm 47
Old Testament Reading: Numbers 11:1–23, 31–35
New Testament Reading: Luke 17:1–19
More, more, more—this is the cry that goes out through the land and up to our God. We want more! The Lord opens His hand and provides for all our needs, but the people desire also to have all their wants. The Lord feeds them with His bread from heaven as the Israelites journey through a barren land, but they desire to eat meat as well. The Lord protects, guides, and nurtures in this trip through the wilderness, yet the people desire more comfort, better food, less drudgery, and new direction. More, more, more—the cry goes out.
This is the cry of the Hebrews in the desert; this is the cry of the world in which we live; too often, this is the cry of the Church of God. The Hebrews had seen great signs and wonders and received marvelous and amazing gifts. The sea parted, the enemy was destroyed, the mountain smoked and trembled, and manna came with the dew: sign after sign was given of God’s hand at work; miracle after miracle showed the covenantal love of their God and Lord. Nevertheless, they wanted more.
The world in which we dwell looks to its Creator with a jaundiced eye. All that is ours, all the beauty, all the technology, all the works of God’s hand, are claimed as the work of humanity. The world has made itself the creator and believes it can sustain what it has not made. All things, good and bad, are a result of humankind’s wisdom, humankind’s ingenuity, and humankind’s creativity. The world demands more.
What of the Church? We, too, cry out for more. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). Christ Jesus came into our midst to carry our sin, pay the ransom, and redeem us. We have seen signs and wonders and received marvelous and amazing gifts. Forgiveness, life, salvation, sonship, Word and Sacraments: sign after sign of God’s hand at work, miracle after miracle showing the everlasting love of the Father for those whom He has created. Still, we want more.
Indeed, there is more—so much more. Even as we receive God’s good and gracious gifts from pulpit, font, and altar, there is more. Even as we see our Lord Jesus Christ in bread and wine, body and blood, there is more. Even as we walk through this wilderness, this barren land of our world, nurtured and sustained by a bountiful God, we want more, and there is more.
We long to see our Lord face-to-face beyond what He has shown us. We desire to be in His presence and see His countenance. We would see Jesus in His heavenly home at the right hand of the Father. This, too, will be ours one day. The One who descended to our earth has ascended to the right hand of the Father. The One who came to dwell with us has gone to prepare heavenly dwellings for us. There is more—much more!
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, as Your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L47)
The Prayer of the Day is from Lutheran Service Book, Collects of the Day © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
From A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year, pages 159–60 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.