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Ascension of Our Lord

by Vicar Lisa

Tomorrow, is Thursday, May 18, 2023, this year known as the Ascension of Our Lord.  

In Luke 24:49-52, Jesus tells his disciples:  And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.  

I would have thought that it was hard for the disciples to look upward towards heaven, watch Jesus ascend out of sight, and then leave with great joy.  I would have expected dismay, sadness, or astonishment.  But Jesus had done everything he could do to prepare them for this moment.  Now, they, along with the Advocate they were soon to receive, were ready and equipped to do God’s work on earth.

We often cast our eyes upward to look for God. When we are feeling lonely or misunderstood, we raise our hands to ask why, or shake our fists in gestures of prayer, anguish, or praise, or joy. While the scriptures promise that God is king of all the earth, sitting on his holy throne (Psalm 47), we need not only look up for God’s action in our lives. Our ascended Lord lives in the heavens, but Jesus does not leave his disciples—or us—to fumble along on our own.  Before he ascended, Jesus promised that we are clothed with the Holy Spirit’s power, witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

“Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” the two men in white robes asked the witnesses remaining after Jesus ascended. Why do we stand still in our lives? This story of Jesus ascending to the heavens after his time on earth gives us mixed feelings: we know he’s returning to where he belongs—out of this world full of brokenness and sin to holiness and glory. Still, our longing is intense: Lord, we want to see you! Please Lord, come again soon!

Our E-Formation commentary for Ascension Day states that some might try to explain it as the cynical “I’m outta here” of a God weary of us self-centered, broken humans.  But that explanation would be short-sighted because it leaves out that important stop on the cross. Instead, Jesus’ departure is accompanied with the promise of the Spirit’s presence remaining among us. We look up to the skies for help, then return our gaze to those among us in need of our care, to the body of Christ and the wind of the Spirit among the baptized, preparing for the time when Jesus comes again to gather us in. 

Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 21

10 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion 

Worship Leaders: Vicar Lisa Rygiel, Carol Smith, & Melodie Lanosga 


  • Sunday Bible Study: Our next Sunday morning Bible Study will be at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, upstairs in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Women's Bible Study: May 26, at 9:30-11:00 am downstairs in the 
  • Centering Prayer: Rita Burton leads our Centering Prayer event beginning at 11:30 a.m., every Friday, downstairs in the Fellowship Hall. Contact Rita for information.
  • Zion's 2nd Annual Campout at Trinidad Lake: Due to expected bad weather, the camping trip has been postponed until June 8-10 at Lake Trinidad group campground.  Please contact Jeff Smith for more information.  
  • Fellowship Hall. We will be discussing Jehovah Shalom "the Lord is our Peace". To join by zoom, the link is: ZzVMeUdsVElGQT09  -- Meeting ID 875 7301 4829 -- Passcode 304100 or call in 301-715-8592. All are welcome. Please direct questions to Carol Smith. 
  • Outdoor Services: We will begin Summer Outdoor Worship on June 11, 2023.  Many people in our congregation have requested this and really value these outdoor services.  However, it takes some effort to set up and break down.   We need people to volunteer who are willing to get there a little early on Sundays and set up.  We have lists of what is needed to guide you.  Please let Vicar Lisa or Sharon Sorensen if you are willing to help, thanks! 
  • Santa Fe Trail Days: Zion's will have a booth at the festival, June 9-10. Paula Little and Mike McNeil are organizing. Please let one of them know if you would like to help. 
  • Vacation Bible School: The community Vacation Bible School will be held at Fisher Peak Community Church. VBS is for grades K-6 and will take place the mornings of June 12-16. For more information, contact Carol Smith or the FPCC church office. 
  • Save the Date: Zion's 135th Anniversary celebration is Sept. 23-24. If you would like to be part of this committee, please see Vicar Lisa. 
  • Flower Update: We share heartfelt thanks for our flower guild and the beautiful additions they make to our worship. You can support their work by dedicating the flowers on a Sunday. The recommended minimum donation is $35, so sign the flower book today.


Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 21, 2023

The second reading for this coming Sunday likens evil to a roaring lion. So come to worship and gather with Christ’s community to receive strength to survive your ordeals. God promises us protection: we already have eternal life in Christ.

John 17:1-11

What has been called the High Priestly Prayer of John 17 is divided between the three years of the lectionary on the Sunday after the Ascension. The church honors the glory of Christ’s crucifixion along with that of his exaltation, which is referred to in the other readings. Proclaiming John 17 after, rather than before, Holy Week and Easter exemplifies the technique of the lectionary in layering biblical meanings in the worship life of the church.

Acts 1:6-14

The ascension moves to the establishment of the church in Jerusalem. So our contemplation of Christ’s ascension leads us to the faithful devotion of the praying community.

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

This Sunday is the last in the semi-continuous reading of 1 Peter. At least in hearing about the sufferings of the church we hold before us all persecuted Christians around the world. The community of the baptized takes comfort in the mighty God who cares for us.


Zion's Lutheran Church