In the name of the Father, and of the ✙ Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
One of the more oft quoted phrases from Scripture is the Jesus’ statement concerning sawdust and a plank of wood. I suppose it’s natural. We don’t like when people see our faults and failures. It’s bothersome to us and certainly easy for us to put up a mirror and direct the criticism right back at someone. Other people like to put up blinders and ignore the actions of others around them. The Pilate-like Postmodern thought of “what is truth” runs rampant in our society, finding it’s way into the psyche of nearly every American who doesn’t want to “judge” one another. Other people put up the holier-than-thou face, looking up to heaven constantly praying for the second coming of Christ or praying that God would somehow give relief to their time of “suffering” at the hands of others.
If we step back for one moment this morning we’ll see that all of these attitudes have one thing in common: the eyes. It’s not a mistake or a happy coincidence, either. Many of the miracles Jesus performs deals with blindness. Many of the parables and teachings Jesus speaks about talks about seeing and watching. God refers to people who are ignorant of him and his will as “blind” far more than any other metaphor. And the Apostle Peter is no different. He commands us to keep a careful watch for the snares and traps of Satan. But he also encourages us to keep watch for the ascended Christ to return.
This past Thursday was the Church Festival of Ascension. It’s a festival that is oft forgotten in the modern church. It falls on an inconvenient day of the week. It’s usually in May or early June—prime time for soccer, softball, tennis, and track. The weather is usually beautiful and people are “tuckered” out from the chaos that is Holy Week and Easter. But in reality, the Ascension is one of the most important feasts of the Christian Church. For centuries Christians have gathered on the night before and the day of to celebrate Christ’s return to heaven. It’s the day when the Church praises God for fulfilling his promise of “setting all things under [Christ’s] feet.” (Ephesians 1:22) It’s the day when the Church praises God for the Offices of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King. It’s the day when the Church recognizes the Great Commission it has to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19-20) In essence, it’s the day that makes the church—well, the church.