Tag Archives: Ascensiontide

Exaudi (2016)


May 8, 2016 AD

Old Testament: Ezekiel 36:22-28

Epistle: 1 Peter 4:7-14

Gospel: John 15:26-16:4
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Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

From the fourth chapter of the first letter of St. Peter, the seventh verse:

The end of all things is at hand.

This Sunday, between last Thursday’s feast of the Ascension of our Lord and next Sunday’s feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, is a kind of “in-between” day in the Christian year. In fact, our whole life as Christians is an “in-between” kind of thing.

It’s a truth so obvious that you might well wonder why a preacher would even bother to mention it. And the truth is this: Earth is not Heaven— although on a perfect spring day earth does come close to suggesting something of that final splendor foreseen and promised in Jesus’ glorious resurrection.

But earth is not heaven. And it is a snare and delusion to imagine that this world will grow better and better until the human race finally succeeds in establishing God’s perfect kingdom here on earth. The Christian worldview is opposed to this kind of naive optimism, this myth of progress, which rests on failure to take seriously just about everything our Lord teaches us in His Word. Christ teaches us that human beings— even Christian human beings— will always remain sinful human beings who as long as we live in this world will have to keep on praying as we do in the prayer Christ Himself taught us, “Forgive us our trespasses,” and will have to go on repenting until our last breath. And since this is so, it’s a terrible delusion to suppose that we will ever be able to create some kind of Golden Age in the world’s history, let alone the perfected kingdom of God! Surely history itself should at least have taught us this much: that every attempt to create some kind of heaven on earth has in fact created a veritable hell on earth. Think of the French Revolution. Think of the so-called “workers’ paradise” of the Soviet Union, China, and other countries controlled by Marxist-Leninist thought.

To be sure, we Christians are called to be a light of hope and joy shining in all earth’s darkness, a leaven of goodness in a cruel and selfish world. In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount He uses the image of Christians as the “salt of the earth” because of salt’s preservative powers. So if we Christians are truly faithful to our calling as Jesus’ disciples, then we can like salt preserve the world from utter rottenness. All of this is blessedly true— and yet! And yet any progress is slow and often painful and any improvement thoroughly provisional— for the time being— always at the mercy of the native sinfulness of all human beings, together with the evil purpose of Satan and his evil minions who never rests in his efforts to subvert everything that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, worthy of praise.

But our Lord Jesus Christ has offered the perfect sacrifice for all sin, no matter how dark, no matter how terrible. He has conquered death and the grave and has ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us. Jesus’ glorious ascension into heaven, which took place the 40th day after His resurrection and which we therefore celebrated this past Thursday, is a most necessary reminder that, as Saint Paul writes to the Christians at Philippi, “Our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power which enables Him to subject all things unto Himself.”

Our citizenship is in heaven. This earth is not heaven and we Christians therefore remain “strangers and pilgrims” in this present world, people on a journey, a journey through this present life to the heavenly fatherland. Yes, people on a journey. And when we’re on a journey we realize— don’t we?— that everything is only “for the time being”, nothing permanent. And isn’t this a wonderful picture of what it means to live Christianly, as strangers and pilgrims in this world, as citizens of heaven, our true home? Taking pleasure in everything that is interesting and beautiful and amusing. We can relish all the good gifts a truly loving heavenly Father sends into our lives. And we realize that whatever difficulty we meet along the way is only for the time being, it isn’t going to last forever. And so we are on a journey, and we await for journey’s end.

On this Sunday after Ascension Day we remember how at our Lord’s ascension two angels appeared to the disciples and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This same Jesus which was taken up from you into heaven shall come in the same way as you have seen Him go into heaven.” Shall come on that Last and Great Day when the risen and ascended Lord will appear in glory and make all things new. And who in the meantime— all unseen— rules all things for the eternal good of His believing children.

There is also this. During the ten days after Jesus’ ascension the disciples were gathered together in prayer, waiting for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit which took place on that fiftieth day after Jesus’ resurrection, the day of Pentecost. Jesus gave you and gave me the Holy Spirit in our baptism, the Holy Spirit who continually comforts and strengthens us in our journey, the Holy Spirit who brings Christ to us and us to Christ, and whose coming on the Day of Pentecost we shall next Sunday celebrate with great joy.

Yes, this earth is not heaven. But the risen and ascended Lord Jesus will according to His sure promise come again and usher in a kingdom of light and joy that will have no end. Let us therefore pray for the grace to live in true repentance and in true faith in his atoning death that we may without fear behold Him when He shall come to be our Judge and so rejoice to behold His appearing. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly! Amen.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. +Amen.

Our Saviour Parish News, May 2016

AscensionThou hast raised our human nature
On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with Thee in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne.
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension
We by faith behold our own.

– Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) The Lutheran Hymnal 218, stanza 5

Ascension Day Divine Service, 7:30 PM

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The celebration of the festivals of the Church Year is no arduous duty but rather a blessing and privilege for us Christians who in celebrating these festivals continually trace the loving purpose of God for our salvation. Thursday, May 5th, is Ascension Day. In Christopher Wordsworth’s great hymn for this festival we see with wonderful clarity the meaning of Jesus’ ascension: “Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own.” And in times as uncertain as these, it is a great comfort to know that, having ascended into heaven, Christ— not only as true God but also as our still human Brother who knows all our weakness— rules all things for the good of His believing children.

Just ten days later we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost which, together with Christmas and Easter, is one of the three great festivals of the Christian Year. On the first Pentecost the risen Lord sent down the Holy Spirit as He had promised upon the disciples in Jerusalem. God the Holy Spirit continues to come and, through the Gospel and Sacraments, creates saving faith in the hearts of human beings; then and now He brings Christ to us and us to Christ. As Dr. Luther says in his Large Catechism:

We could never recognize [God] the Father’s favor and grace were it not for the Lord Christ, who is a mirror of the Father’s heart. Apart from Him we see nothing but an angry and terrible Judge. But neither could we know anything of Christ, had it not been revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia! The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world: O come, let us worship Him!


Christian education does not end with Confirmation but continues throughout our lives as Christians. Every Sunday morning at 9:45 AM we study the appointed readings from Holy Scripture for that day in the Church Year. The number of people attending this class has lately increased. Do come and join us! The format is quite informal, questions and discussion are very much encouraged!

Every Sunday we remember at the altar those whose names are listed in the bulletin. Do take that list home with you and pray for those whose names are listed. I should mention that Queenie Hardaway recently moved to the Augsburg Home. Remember her especially in your prayers as she begins this new chapter in her life.

The Saint Mark’s Conference on April 25-26 was a delightful occasion. The focus of the Conference was the confessional, sacramental, and liturgical life of our dear Lutheran Church, the Church of the Augsburg Confession. I must thank all the members of Our Saviour who helped to make this possible: James Gray for preparing the sacramental vessels and clothing the altar in the correct color of the day; Don Weber for serving as organist on Saint Mark’s Day; Helen Gray, Kathy Gray, Esther Shelton, and Bernie Knox who prepared Monday’s lunch; Paul and Mary Techau who took charge of the social hour following Monday Vespers and helped in other ways; William Hawkins and Ron Lang who were present on both days and always eager to be of help. Visitors were impressed with the reverent service of our faithful acolytes Jamera Breshay-Hawkins and Kai Hawkins. Vicar Trent is ever helpful. I must also thank the women of the Saint Monica Guild of Redeemer Church, Irvington, who prepared and served Tuesday’s lunch. I hope I have not forgotten to thank someone, but if I have, I beg your pardon! Audio from the St. Mark’s Conference is available here.

We have now had the joy of celebrating Easter Day and the bright Easter season. Now we look forward to celebrating the Ascension of our Lord (Thursday, May 5th) and the great Feast of Pentecost.

God is eager to bestow His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in every Divine Service. Are we similarly eager to receive those gifts and thank and praise Him for His astonishing love?

Affectionately in our Lord and with my prayers,




Pastor McClean

Things to come…

Free Flea Market – Saturday, May 14th

The first Free Flea Market of the year will be held on Saturday, May 14th, in the rear parking lot of the church. Donations and helpers are needed. Clothing, especially children’s and women’s, household items, games, toys are needed. Also needed are Volunteers to help set up and man the tables that morning. Be here by 8:30 AM. It runs from 9 AM until noon. Each visitor receives five tickets which they can redeem for any item This is our outreach to the community to share the gifis that God has so freely given us. Flyers will be distributed to the neighborhood and a table will be marmed at the iConnections gathering of GEDCO at the site of the old Stadium on May 7th. Join us for a fun day and share your faith with others.

– Judy Volkman

Voters Meeting – following Divine Service on Pentecost, Sunday May, 15th

Spring Clean-Up Day – Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 AM until noon.

Call Anthony Baylor (4l0.486.5199) for more information.