Prayer for the Ascension of Jesus Of course, the word of a scientist is more valid in our world today than the word of a theologian. And if you want to talk about Ascension Day today, it’s a difficult business. Is Christ’s Ascension just a myth? Doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale? A famous natural scientist Albert Einstein said: to me, life seems like a big ship. This ship is crammed with the latest technology. A ship with an excellently trained crew. Everything on this ship of life is best ordered. Only: The ship has no compass. And so the ship of life on the ocean goes back and forth in a zigzag course, without a clear target, because it does not have a compass that points it towards a specific destination.
Dear Jesus, I thank you that you came in human form and lived on earth. You always did what your Heavenly Father desired. Today we celebrate the day when you left the earth by being taken up into Heaven, where you sit on the throne. I remember and believe you will fulfill your promises to us. So I wait for your return to the earth, when sin and death will finally be defeated. Jesus, I need your presence in my life, your direction and help. I pray in the name of Jesus, our Ascended Lord. Amen.
Goal of Our Life
Is that so? Do you still have a goal for your life? I don’t mean the next vacation or anything. For your life as a whole, do you still have a goal?For example, many people do not believe in life after death. But if everything is over with the death of a person, is the whole goal and the whole meaning of our life now only in eating, drinking, working, sleeping, enjoying? Is that all?
That’s why people today are afraid of dying. If I have no goal and the grave is the last stop, then, of course, I have to hold everything in this world as long as possible, then death is the worst thing that can happen to me. Are we like a ship without a compass and a target? The next question: Do we still know the goal for this whole world?
Ascension is the Compass for Life Goal
For us, the feast of the Ascension can be a compass that aligns us again with a goal. This day tells us: The goal is not death. The goal is life. And the goal of this world is not doom, annihilation, and terror, but the goal of this world is glory. That means Ascension.
The old painters in the Middle Ages knew something about it. Back then you did not paint the sky blue, but gold. With this they wanted to express: Heaven is where there is shine, where there is glory. And that is the goal. If you have no target, you will always be characterized by fear and uncertainty. But the moment I have a goal for my life and for the world and a compass that points me towards it, this goal already has an impact here in this ‘misery’ in our lives. Here are a few examples: In the story of the storm at sea – storms all around. All disciples think we will perish. And Jesus sleeps peacefully in the boat on a pillow. He knew: the storms are not the last, but the security in the hand of God. The goal is not doom, the goal is: enter the rest of God.
Or another example. If Jesus could turn to all people with such sovereignty, everyone who was expelled at the time, whether they were the prostitutes, the tax collectors, whether the terminally ill were like them leprosy – everyone else has this kind of people shown with fingers: just don’t come in contact with them. Jesus has no fear of contact at all, no fear meeting all people indiscriminately. Do you know why? Because even in the most disfigured face he could still see the image of God. And because for the greatest sinner with God, he still has a future perspective, a life chance. See the thief on the cross: “Today you will still be with me in paradise.” That is why Jesus was able to deal with people in this way.
Or look at a man like Stephen in Acts 7:54-60. Stones flew there and he collapsed under the stones and died. But his eyes were not on the circumstances, on the stones that were flying there. His eyes were on the target. He calls: “I see the sky open and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” And because his eyes were fixed on the goal when the stones fly, he can pray: “Lord, do not count them as a sin.”
Or take a man like an apostle Paul, who has truly suffered abuses and fatalities, who has been persecuted everywhere. He knew something about what blows of fate is. And on top of that, concern for the right faith in the churches. And this Paul writes a letter from the prison, the Philippians, which is brimming with joy. But in this letter, the deepest reason for his joy in all tribulations is mentioned: “Our home is in heaven.” That is my goal. Paul writes: “I forget everything that is behind me and I reach out for what is in front of me.” For me, the victory wreath is ready in heaven. Because he has this goal in mind, he can write so much of joy in the middle of the prison, with a violent death in mind.
Or ask the many martyrs in church history why they died for their faith. They will all say: We had the goal in mind, the glory of heaven. That shapes our earthly life here. And therefore this feast of Ascension wants to be like a compass that directs our gaze away from all possible adverse circumstances here in this world, and that directs our gaze towards heaven, our homeland, our roots, and our goal. And prayer for the Ascension of Jesus helps to see the goal.
We only have the alternative: Either we are like a ship without a compass with our whole life and we live there aimless and aimless. Or else: We have a deep calm and security because we know that there is a goal with God, and there is one that aligns us with this goal: Jesus Christ. So let’s speak prayer for Ascension of Jesus.
Prayer for the Ascension of Jesus
Almighty Eternal God, fill us with joy and gratitude because in the Ascension of your Son you have elevated man.
We are called to glory into which Christ preceded us and in the unity of the Holy Spirit lives and reigns with you forever. Amen.