This sermon can be listened to here:

Gate Pa – Easter 7/Ascension Sunday 2016
Psalm:                                   Psalm 97                                                  
First Reading:                         Acts 1-11                                           
Second Reading:       Rev 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21               
Gospel:                                    John 17:20-26                                    

What I want to say:
On this last Sunday in Easter, as we commemorate the Ascension: what does the ascension offer us? What does resurrection mean to us? We are the people of the footprints, and today we baptise Dylan to join us as we seek to stand in footprints of risen Christ.
What I want to happen:

The Sermon

1.     Introduction:

A story to start with
Read story last week about Centre in America run by Roman Catholic sisters, welcomed children whose families were homeless, families with no addresses.
Heard similar stories from this country.
One day the sisters took the children to the Jersey shore. The 3 and 4 year olds scrambled up the sandy dunes, falling and giggling their way to the top of what must have seemed like mountains to their little legs. When they got to the top, they could hardly believe their eyes: water as far as they could see -- more water than they had ever seen. They slid down the dunes and ran to the ocean’s edge. They chased the waves that teased their toes. Then they went off for a picnic in a nearby park. After lunch they begged to go back to the dunes. One little boy named Freddie outran the rest and climbed his way to the top. He looked out, then turned to the others and shouted, “It’s still there!”

In Freddie’s short life, so much had disappeared -- even the ocean could disappear over lunch.
While we’re older and know the ocean is there even when we’re not looking.
What about other things. What are sandy dunes we at struggling up
What seems disappeared while not looking

2.     Happy birthday

Lot happening today
Lot to get through
So first of all – happy birthday to Marion
Thank you for all you have offered and still offer this place
And this community.
You are like ocean
Always seem to have been here
In a good way
Trust day great celebration
Years ahead filled with God’s peace and goodness

3.     Mother’s Day

Also Mother’s Day
Happy mother’s day to all mothers
Day to remember the importance of mothers
Often ones in child’s life like ocean
Rock on which children build lives on
Applaud mothers
Give thanks mothers
Need remember that today brings with it a lot pain for many people
Whole lot reasons
Let us remember them and grow in our compassion

4.     Sunday after Ascension Day

Also Sunday after Ascension
Which heard in readings from Acts
What does Ascension offer us?
Why take any notice
            Where our theology around Jesus needs to be good
            Need to keep hold of incarnation to make sense of it all
            Jesus was and is fully human and fully divine
Fully human fully divine crucified and risen Christ “ascends” into God
Use that word ascend loosely
->usually used as floating up into heaven
Heaven far away up there somewhere
            Usually depicted as
More like dematerialised into the cloud
Back to what happening here:
Incarnation is The Word of God coming among us as
one of us
Jesus who is fully human and fully divine
remind us who we are
            Made in image of God
            Not replica of God
            Not statue God
            Made with essence of God in each of us
the Love, wholeness of God is within each of us and all of us
in life and death Jesus we are shown what living as people made in image God looks like
            lives filled with compassion, generosity, love, wholeness
Ascension is return journey
            Word of God who is fully human returns to Godhead
Be part eternal life, love and worship that is at heart of God who is 3 in 1
In ascension
Through  Jesus fully divine, and fully human
We are welcomed into that life, love and worship
Ascension reminds us that
we are welcomed into that life, love and worship
To put that another way
Eternal life is not when die and go to heaven
Eternal life is when we realise that we are living in God
            In heart of God
            That starts now
Heaven is here
Ascension is not about God being somewhere else
            And Jesus going off to be with God
Actually about God being here
like ocean
here all the time
Not going anywhere
Welcoming us into the heart of the life of God
            Who is here and now

5.     Last Sunday of Easter

Also last Sunday of Easter
Great 50 days will end on Saturday
Raises the question
What does Resurrection Jesus mean for us?
As we ponder that question
Given end Jesus great high priestly prayer in John
Prayed at end of last supper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
One commentator read described what we heard today as Jesus’ mothers prayer
They felt was pretty cool on Mothers Day
            kind of prayer mother might pray when children go out
            especially when some risk
            kind things we thought when each children started driving
                        or drove up Auckland for first few times
or went away for university etc…
In essence it says – look after them God.                                                                                                                                                                                       
this prayer is not just for those gathered
for all those who will believe
includes us  
this prayer is being prayed for us
kind of like ocean
            this ongoing prayer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
In it Jesus says
            I am in Father
            Father is in me
            Met Father in me
            Father is in you through me
            You are in Father through me
Which is pretty much what I think Ascension reminds us of but is acted out
So what does resurrection have to say then
God is like the ocean
utterly dependable
not going anywhere
absolutely committed to us and this world

6.     Footprints

One last thing to say about Ascension and Resurrection
One commentaries read talked about woodcut Jesus’ ascension by Albrecht Durer
Many ways traditional piece of art
Love about it is footprints
Angels said – men of galilee why are you looking up into the clouds
Might have said
There are his footprints
He has left them all over
Go find them
Go join in
Go be the footprints
What do these footprints look like?

7.     Origins

Story of origins of American Mother’s Day offer some examples
Last year (I think) – talked about work Anna Jarvis
Following her mother’s 1905 death,
conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honouring the sacrifices mothers made for their children
The roots go back further back to the 19th century.
Talk about two people act as examples for us today
One those was Mother of Anna Jarvis - Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia
In the years before the Civil War (1861-65), helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children.
These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War.
In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Another precursor Julia Ward Howe - abolitionist and suffragette.
Wrote Battle hymn for the Republic
In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace.
In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2.

8.     Baptism

We are now going to baptise Dylan
In doing so we are declaring that
God is in him, and he is in God
In Christ he is being welcomed into life, love at heart of God
In doing so we are also declaring
            our hope is that his life will be shaped God’s generosity, love, mercy, peace and goodness
we are also declaring he is now part of this ongoing story that goes back to these people heard about today
he will be part of community that Jesus was and is praying for
He will join us looking for footprints of risen Jesus in our world today
He will join us being the footprints of Crucified and Risen One


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