Worship at Old Stone Well Farm

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Ascension Sunday: Forget Me Not

Today is one of my favorite days on the church calendar — the Ascension of the Lord! Yes, you read correctly! The ascension is so overlooked on our faith journeys, and yet there is so much that we can learn from it; there is so much that defines who we are to be. It is a reminder for us to prepare prayerfully for the coming of the Pentecost Spirit. It is also a reminder for us to never forget that we are called to be the Christ light to others. And so, join me here in Vermont as the season of Easter comes to close and a new season of incredible God moments begin. Blessings!

Luke 24:44-53 (The Message)

44 Then he said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.”

45-49 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”

50-51 He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, made his exit, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

It’s All How You Look at Things

 

The front door squeaked opened and then slammed shut. I, still slumbering at 5 a.m., didn’t think much of it as this was our morning routine. Husband gets up, showers, makes his coffee and then takes Sofie, our bumbling Bernese mountain dog, out for her morning business. I would then go back to slumbering for another hour.

And so the front door squeaked opened and then slammed shut, but that’s where our morning routine went awry. Before I could snuggle deeper into the blankets, something large and furry began nudging at me. I heard whimpering and then it came. A big wet and warm lick. It was Sofie.

“Shouldn’t you be outside with daddy,” I asked, as I petted the top of her head, while making my way out of the bed and fumbling for my glasses and trying to put on my slippers. I’ve always took pride in my ability to multi-task.

My sleep haze began dissipating with each step I took from the bedroom to the kitchen to see what was going on. I tried to ignore the growing concern rumbling along with the hunger in my stomach. Where was my husband? The kitchen light was on. The coffee mug, filled with hot coffee, sat on the counter right next to the now cold toast waiting to be taken out of the toaster. Sofie nudged me again, leading me to the front door. What could have happened? And where the heck was my husband?

The front door squeaked opened and then slammed shut behind me. My glasses, never quite fitting well, slid down my nose making it hard for me to focus in the dark of dawn. I pushed the glasses back up my nose and when I did my husband came into focus. There he stood looking up at the sky. He motioned to come join him and then pointed to the very thing that had him mesmerized. There in sky was the moon with a perfect halo of light surrounding it. It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.  images

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” I whispered. I didn’t know what to make of it, but as I kept staring I felt a comforting hug. No, not from my husband. Rather a divine hug of sorts, reassuring me that God’s love and protection was like that perfect illumined circle, forever surrounding me with light.

The front door squeaked opened and then slammed shut again. A breakfast of cold coffee and toast was eaten and the dark of dawn quickly gave way to light. The day had begun but still I couldn’t get that image of the moon encircled with light off of my mind. In between writing my sermon for Sunday, I decided to do some research and discovered what we saw was a lunar halo—a ring of light around the moon caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Much to my surprise, lunar halos occur more often than I thought. Hmmm…perhaps I needed to listen to my husband and start getting up more at the crack of dawn to see these displays of nature? I then discovered that folk lore says such halos indicate rough weather on its way.

I thought about that some more. How interesting that my reaction to the halo was one of peace and comfort. I didn’t see the halo as a warning of tough times ahead, but rather of a reminder of God’s protection and love surrounding me.

That’s when I began wondering how many farmers of old took the message of the halo as a warning of tough times ahead and worried and batten down the hatches and tried their best to prepare for all the what if’s and the many unknowns? And how many farmers of old looked up at the sky and smiled, preferring to take the message of the halo as a beautiful reassuring hug from God that all would be well no matter what?

Rough weather, tough times—they always come. But God’s love is a never-ending circle surrounding us, getting us through it all.

There was a lunar halo this morning. It was beautiful. It was a like a divine hug reminding me that God is holding me tightly. That’s how I saw it. How would you see it?