Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 13 – After The Excitement, Great Joy

“Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” Luke 24:50-53

Devotional Thought For The Day

We have a sense of the dynamics of life for these early disciples of Jesus in the days following His dramatic resurrection and then His ascension – in the days that follow our own celebration of His glorious resurrection. Our schedule around church gets exaggerated during Lent, and especially during Holy Week. Other things get table-filed and overlooked.  The culminating celebration on Easter Sunday is magnificent and uplifting – but then things have to get back to some sense of normalcy and routine, and there are many things piled up for us to attend to. Things changed for the disciples, and hopefully things have changed for the better for us.

The visual presence of Jesus was no longer the focal point for the disciples – though true to His promise He remained “with them always, even to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:20] The same promise of Jesus remains true for His disciples to this day, for each and every one of us.  It is difficult for us to keep together in our minds the awesome expanse and power of Jesus, the Son of God Who “upholds all things by His Word of power,” and also His close and intimate presence with each of us. It is so humbling and mind-boggling! We do not have to “invent” a new focal point or “meeting place” in our fellowship with Jesus. In a remarkable act of faith on God’s part, Christ has entrusted this to His “church” [think not institution; the institutions only serve this greater purpose], the life and fellowship of those who believe in Him. So the early disciples returned to the temple, to the formal worship of God, to the Word of God, written and preached, and as we read elsewhere, to “the breaking of bread and the prayers” [Acts 2:42], an obvious reference to the celebration of Christ’s meal of Holy Communion.

If the joyous celebration of Easter has meant anything to us, then how is that effect evidenced in our lives following the event?  How do things change for us in the days that follow, as we seek to re-establish what is “normal” for us?  For many, it is obvious that there has been little or no real effect – we do not see them back at “the temple” or participating in the fellowship of “the breaking of bread.” For us too the temptation may be to “take a break” – and yet this is turning in quite the opposite way of these early disciples. What real closeness to Christ is it when we fail to continue our meeting with Him [and His other dear children of faith] where He has promised to give Himself to us and bless us?

We would have expected to read that the disciples were distraught, confused, and dejected following Christ’s ascension. Instead, they returned to establish their new “normal” with “great joy,” and immediately devoted themselves to the Word, to the Sacrament, to prayers, and to the fellowship of God’s dear children of faith. May our experience of the blessings of Christ have similar effect in our lives, so that as we also settle back into our normal routines they are new and empowered in closer fellowship with Christ.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, how easily we confuse “church” and churchly activities for real, compelling, and energizing fellowship with You. We pray that You would help us avoid this confusion, so that Your real presence with us – especially in Your Word and Sacrament – might be compelling and captivating for us as we return to our more regular schedules. Bless Your children, Your church, with the joy of Your salvation, and with newness of life. Amen.