Acts 1: 1-11

Illustrated New Resources

  • The Absence/Presence Rhythm

    by Kathy Donley
    At one time in church history, Ascension was a high, holy day, equal in importance to Christmas and Easter. Ascension always falls 40 days after Easter which means that it always lands on a Thursday. Just as we gather for worship on Christmas Eve, no matter what day of the week it is, earlier Christians would have gathered to celebrate the Feast of the Ascension on that same Thursday every year. Now, most Christian traditions move the observance to Sunday, if they attend to it at all. In one Amish community even today, Ascension is more significant than Easter, but not nearly so festive. A Protestant pastor asked an Amish bishop if they celebrated the day with a worship service, with a potluck meal, with communion? “No,” he responded. “We don’t really think of the day as a celebration at all, but more like a time of mourning.” Recalling Jesus’ parable about the time when the bridegroom is taken away and the people fast, he said “It’s a time for lament because that’s when we remember that Jesus left us behind—that’s when he left us here.” There is no feasting, only fasting...

Other New Resources

  • Going and Coming

    by Bob Cornwall
  • Exegesis (Acts 1:1-11)

    by Richard Donovan
  • No Loitering

    by Jim Eaton
    Once when Jacquelyn was visiting North Carolina, she found a beautiful small town park. The grass was green, there were flowers and benches; it was like a picture from the North Carolina Board of Tourism. Tired from walking, she could easily imagine just sitting down on the little bench and resting. Then she saw the sign: “No Loitering”. No Loitering in the park—we’ve all laughed about that sign since; after all, isn’t that the whole point of a park? You go there to loiter; you go there to slow down, stop, appreciate. Drive by appreciation doesn’t really work; you have to loiter, wait before wonder kicks in. A park where you can’t loiter? It’s like a pool where you can’t swim, ice cream you can’t lick or a church where you can’t find God...
  • Ascension (B)(2021)

    by Anne Le Bas
  • Liminal Times

    by Jen Nagel
  • Not Finished Yet

    from Presentation Ministries
  • Head in the Clouds

    by Beth Quick
  • Ascension (B)(2021)

    by Gilberto Ruiz
  • After This

    by Anna Tew
  • Ascension (B)(2021)

    by Austin Troyer
  • Ascension (B)(2021)

    by Nathan Williams

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • The Body of Christ on Earth

    by Sil Galvan
    In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when he was asked about the transformation, he said: "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls." Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine! When the first prison basketball game was held, she went ... walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids, and she sat in the stands with the inmates. Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don't have to worry!"
  • A Legacy of Love

    by Sil Galvan
    As a young man, Al was a skilled artist, a potter. He had a wife and two fine sons. One night, his oldest son developed a severe stomach ache. Thinking it was only some common intestinal disorder, neither Al nor his wife took the condition very seriously. But the malady was actually acute appendicitis, and the boy died suddenly that night. Knowing the death could have been prevented if he had only realized the seriousness of the situation, Al's emotional health deteriorated under the enormous burden of his guilt. To make matters worse, his wife left him a short time later, leaving him alone with his six-year-old younger son. The hurt and pain of the two situations were more that Al could handle, and he turned to alcohol to help him cope. In time, Al became an alcoholic. As the alcoholism progressed, Al began to lose everything he possessed - his home, his land, his art objects, everything. Eventually, Al died alone in a San Francisco motel room. When I heard of his death, I reacted with the same disdain that the world shows for one who ends his life with nothing material to show for it. "What a complete failure!" I thought. "What a totally wasted life!" As time went by, I began to re-evaluate my earlier harsh judgment. You see, I knew Al's now adult son, Ernie...
  • Why Do You Stand Looking Up to Heaven?

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Will You at This Time Restore the Kingdom to Israel?

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ascension)

    from Various Sources
    Charles E. Jefferson once described the difference between an audience and a church. He said, "An audience is a crowd. A church is a family. An audience is a gathering. A church is a fellowship. An audience is a collection. A church is an organism. An audience is a heap of stones. A church is a temple." And he concludes, "Preachers are ordained not to attract an audience, but to build a church." I hope that everyone in this room understands that critical difference. If the Lion's club or the Kiwanis club is torn with dissension, it is a shame. But when the church of Jesus Christ is in turmoil, it is a tragedy. Christ depends on us. And many more...

Illustrated Resources from 2020

  • How the Ascension of Christ Made Room for the Church

    by Terrance Klein
    Death creates a double distance. Obviously, we can no longer see the one who has died. But death also sets life itself at a distance. Only in death do we see a life completed. Individual moments take on a different hue when they are finally part of the whole. The shifting stills. Death demarcates a life. We begin to see its truth, its singularity, all its facets, the flaws and the fineness...
  • Learning to Shift

    by David Russell
    Anne LaMott was an alcoholic and in really bad shape when she started wandering in on Sunday mornings to St. Andrews Presbyterian, a kind of funky little church right by the farmer’s market she went to on Sunday mornings in San Francisco. Slowly she started getting her life on track, and the people there patiently cared for her. One Sunday at the end of the service, she got up the courage to tell the congregation she was pregnant. The people cheered. She was not married and did not expect this reaction. Even people raised in Bible-thumping homes in the Deep South clapped and clapped. The church more or less adopted her. They brought over casseroles that she could freeze and use later. And they started to slip her money. A bent-over woman on Social Security would sidle up to her and slip a 10 or 20 in her pocket. And Mary Williams always sat in the back and brought her baggies filled with dimes. Every week. Sam was brought to the church when he was 5 days old. People oohed and aahed and everybody called him “our baby.” People in that little church kept Anne LaMott going. They cared, prayed, and reached out to her and saw her through some hard days...
  • Lifted Up

    by Leslie Scoopmire
    One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride, a madcap fable about true love, fencing, fighting, torture, pirates, and revenge, among other things. I can quote the entire thing– and if you don’t believe me, just ask my family and former students. One of the funniest early scenes in the movie involves the kidnapping of a beautiful princess. As her kidnappers take her off in a boat through eel-infested waters, she jumps over the side in a bid to escape. The mastermind of the trio of kidnappers orders one of his assistants, Inigo, played by the talented Mandy Patinkin, to jump in after her. “I don’t swim,” he shrugs. The leader turns to the other one, Fezzik, played by former pro wrestler Andre the Giant, who mutters sheepishly, “I only dog paddle.”...

Illustrated Resources from 2015 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Be Part of the Story

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Randy Alcorn tells about a British physician who died of AIDS. A young Christian man, he volunteered to treat patients in Zimbabwe. In the last days of his life he struggled to express himself to his wife. He only had enough strength to write the letter J. She started saying words beginning with that letter. Finally she said, 'Jesus?' He nodded...")
  • Fear and Loathing on the Way to the Ascension

    by Richard Bryant
    For some reason, as I begin to think about the Ascension, I can’t help but recall Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. In the opening paragraph of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson launches his epic journey by letting the reader know where the story commences and where it will end. “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. …”
  • Ascension: Christianity's Answer to Science

    by Evan Garner
    I'm sure you remember that scene from Star Wars Episode IV, when Obi Wan, while fighting Darth Vader, turns to see young Luke Skywalker and chooses to disincorporate. He isn't dead, of course. Vader steps on the cloak, which is lying on the floor where Obi Wan once stood. Now Obi Wan is one with the Force, and his ability to assist Skywalker is enhanced. I remember a friend of my stressing the word "disincorporation" to describe what had happened. He didn't die. He didn't disappear. He became acorporal.
  • Out of Sight But Not Gone

    by Peter Haynes
    The year was 1772, and a Baptist preacher serving a small country church was called to pastor a large, more prestigious congregation in London, England. As the story goes, this minister delivered his farewell sermon and packed up his family’s earthly possessions, ready to go. It was the tears of his parishioners, helping them load the carts, though, that really got to him and his wife. “I cannot bear this! I know not how to go,” his wife said. “Nor I, either,” he replied “Nor will we go. Unload the wagon, and put everything in the place where it was before.” This story lies behind the hymn we sang earlier, “Bless’d be the tie that binds,” the words of which were written by that Baptist preacher, John Fawcett, the very next week (or so the story goes). What’s interesting is that “though this (hymn) text is commonly used for farewells, it was inspired by a decision to stay.”
  • The Ascension Never Actually Happened; Ascension is Always Happening

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Larry Walters was just 13 years old and he saw weather balloons hanging from the ceiling of an Army & Navy surplus store. It was then that Larry knew that some day he would be carried up to the heavens by balloons. Sure enough when he was 33 years old, on July 2nd 1982, Larry Walters tied 42 helium-filled balloons to a lawn chair in the backyard of his girlfriend’s house in San Pedro, California. With the help of his friends, Larry secured himself into the lawn chair that was anchored to the bumper of a friend’s car, by two nylon tethers. Larry packed several sandwiches and a six-pack of Miller Lite and loaded his pellet gun so that he could pop a few balloons when he was ready to come down. His goal was to sail across the desert and hopefully make it to the Rocky Mountains in a few days.
  • The Ascension Never Actually Happened. It Is Always Happening.

    by Dawn Hutchings
    The literal historical Ascension story took place in 1982. But it the story that actually began some twenty years earlier when Larry Walters was just 13 years old and he saw weather balloons hanging from the ceiling of an Army & Navy surplus store. It was then that Larry knew that some day he would be carried up to the heavens by balloons. Sure enough when he was 33 years old, on July 2nd 1982, Larry Walters tied 42 helium-filled balloons to a lawn chair in the backyard of his girlfriend’s house in San Pedro, California.
  • Ascension

    by Greg Kandra
    ("I was in Jordan a few weeks ago. One of the places I was privileged to visit was the Italian Hospital in Amman – the oldest medical facility in Jordan. Its patients are predominantly the poor. Many of them today are refugees who have fled Iraq or Syria. The hospital was built by Catholics nearly a century ago, and is still staffed by some hardworking Dominican Sisters. In a country that is 95 percent Muslim…the Gospel is being proclaimed in that hospital...")
  • At the Ascension, Christ Lifts Our History into Heaven

    by Terrance Klein
    If you have had much exposure to the study of the humanities, much less philosophy and theology, you have probably heard of the 20th-century Jewish thinker Martin Buber. You have encountered his famous “I-Thou” distinction. Namely, that we do and must relate to other people differently than we do to objects, which Buber called “I-It” relationships. We should, of course, use objects well, but we must revere another person, a Thou, who addresses us from within our own humanity. In his new biography, Paul Mendes-Flohr sees this as Buber’s approach to interreligious relations as well. They are akin to an “I-Thou” dialogue between groups. You claim your own tradition because it is who you are. You also admit that you cannot truly step inside another person’s religious experience, cannot personally access its truth claims. Buber suggested we treat other religions as “sacred mysteries,” beyond our judgment...
  • Why Did Christ Ascend to Heaven? So That Moms Everywhere Could Take His Place.

    by Terrance Klein
    Parenthood, even before the coming of the Christ, has always been about giving, nurturing and protecting new life through the gift of one’s own life. The biological bestowal of life, especially for the father, is the easy part. The real test comes as parents continually sacrifice their own comfort and security for that of their children. This was a lesson that Laura had to learn from her own mother when she herself became, in short order, a wife and mother. On one occasion, the Wilders, suffering from cabin fever during a cold snap, decided to take Rose out to see Laura’s parents. They stowed their bundled baby behind the dashboard, out of the wind, and rode their sleigh to the Ingallses’ house, only to be greeted with dismay by Charles and Caroline, who chided them for venturing abroad with an infant when it was fifteen below zero “You’re crazy!” Laura remembered her father saying. She assured readers that she took care to check on Rose every few minutes to make sure she was warm. But she also admitted: “It seemed there was a good deal to taking care of babies.”...
  • There Is Work to Be Done

    by Nicholas Lang
    The Italian composer Giacomo Puccini wrote several famous operas. During his battle with terminal cancer he began to write Turandot, now considered by many as his best work. When his sickness worsened, Puccini said to his disciples, “If I don’t finish Turandot, I want you to finish it.” When he died in 1924, they gathered all that was written of the opera, studied it in great detail, and wrote the remainder of it. Its world premiere was performed in La Scala Opera House in Milan and Toscanini, Puccini’s favorite student, conducted it. When he came to the end of the part written by Puccini, the conductor stopped the music, put down the baton, turned to the audience, and explained, “Thus far the master wrote, but he died.” There was a long pause; no one moved. Then Toscanini picked up the baton, turned to the audience and, with tears in his eyes, said, “But his disciples finished his work.”
  • You Will Be My Witnesses

    by Jen Nagel
    Last Sunday we discovered that our bread oven had been tagged with blue graffiti. Graffiti happens, and the church isn’t immune, but, we’d worked hard, and it felt like a violation. We took the required pictures and prepared to let the police know. I didn’t expect that on Tuesday morning four of the students from PEASE Academy would show up in the church office to tell us who did it: a young man who’d dropped out of PEASE some months back, who is using, who is struggling…a lot. PEASE is the recovery high school that has lived here at Hope for 30 years now. The students are all in recovery. They’ve been to treatment and they come to PEASE to finish high school, and to do that in a setting where they can find support for their sobriety and mental health. Michael Durchslag, PEASE’s director, told us how in their using, students get the narrative: don’t be a nark, don’t be a snitch. But these four, in their sobriety, had changed the narrative: “This is our school. This is our place. We know who did this. How can we help?”...
  • Ascending Requires Letting Go

    by Nancy Rockwell
    For weeks now, there have been lingering, ongoing farewells to Dave Letterman, who will retire from his decades’ long reign on late night TV next week. Each night, stars and celebrities have come to wish him well, with roasts and toasts, reflecting on things that will never be the same without him. Video clips have brought back the decades in memory romps. Letterman is never to be forgotten. But he is also to be absent, now. The times, they are a’changin’...
  • Ascension (C)(2019)

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    When I was 23 years old, in the space of just three months, both my parents died. They were young, I was young, our family was young—too young, we felt, to let them go. But they died despite that and their leaving left a gaping hole in our lives. But after a time that void began to fill in and our sadness began to dissipate. It didn’t happen quickly. It took a couple of years, but eventually things changed. What was once a cold absence now became a warm presence. Our mother and father came back to us in a new way. We began to feel their presence as a warm nurturing spirit, as a permanent sustaining love. They were now present to us in a deeper way, a way devoid of tension...
  • A Spirituality of the Ascension

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("What does the Ascension mean? Among other things, that the mystery of how we touch each others's lives is strangely paradoxical in that the wondrous life-giving power of arriving, touching another's life, speaking words that nurture, doing actions that build up, and giving life for another, depends also upon eventually leaving, being silent, absorbing rather than actively doing, and giving our goodbye and death just as we once gave our presence and our life...")
  • Ascension

    from Sacra Conversazione
    In a sense, Ascension Day is the calm before the storm; the (pregnant) pause before all (re-)creation breaks loose. After the understatement about Jesus’ departure–he simply “withdrew”- -the breathtaking implication of his final promise– his followers will be “clothed with power from on high” –will begin to unfold, starting at that first Pentecost and still reverberating.
  • Walking Downhill

    by Alan Sherouse
    I think of a friend, Amanda, who had a life-changing opportunity some years ago to spend a summer in Calcutta, India, where she worked in the homes of Mother Teresa. And when she reported for work her first day, she was placed in the kitchen, washing pots. And then the next day in the laundry, washing sheets. This went on for weeks, frustrating my friend. So she asked one of her supervisors, "Hey, I've been spending all of my time washing pots and cleaning sheets and folding bandages. I came here to work with Mother Teresa. What does Mother Teresa do when she's here?" And the supervisor said, "Well, when she's here, Mother Teresa cleans sheets, she folds bandages, and she washes pots."
  • Ascension (B)(2018)

    by Jude Siciliano, OP
    Thomas Troeger, the Presbyterian preacher and homiletician, in a sermon preached on Ascension Day, recalls the frustration of the disciples and the early church in their waiting and longing for the fulfillment of the reign of God. He says we too know that frustration. After having given our lives over to Jesus Christ, we experience not triumph, but a mixture of triumph and defeat. Has anything really changed? What difference does our faith make? "When will things come together in some whole and enduring pattern?" he wonders. And then Troeger quotes Yeats’ lines to describe our world: Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

Illustrated Resources from 2009 to 2014

  • He Took Prisoners Captive

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Bob Dylan wrote a song, Gotta serve somebody. Don't worry, I won't sing it but here is the refrain: 'Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you're gonna have to serve somebody'. The devil tries to convince that we are autonomous - as if we could exist completely on our own...")
  • The Personal Center

    by Phil Bloom
    ("He was a young man, barely twenty-one years old, named Bartolome Blanco Marquez. Bartolome was deeply in love with a girl named Maruja. They dreamed about marriage and forming a family. Both were commited Christians and wanted Jesus to have the first place in their lives...")
  • Why Are You Looking Up?

    by Ken Carter
    ("In his commentary on the ascension, Peter Gomes insists that the event has both an upward vision and a downward vision. The upward vision is heaven: 'I go to prepare a place for you'. Amidst the troubles of this world, we want to be lifted up--we need an upward vision. But...")
  • A Celebration of Separation, Anticipation and Imagination

    by Leo Edgar, OP
    ("Back in 1907 when the 20th century had not long come into being, Robert Hugh Benson wrote of the things to come in his book Lord of the World. In it he described many things not yet known to man – aeroplanes and airports; electric lights, smokeless zones and temperatures measured in centigrade; a European parliament and even the abolition of the House of Lords...")
  • Jesus the Lord

    by Frank Fisher, Obl. OSB
    ("To Luke, the physician; the chronicler of the Great Physician. Greetings and many blessings to you, my brother in the faith. Tell all my sisters and brothers I, Peter, also send them greetings in the name of Jesus the Christ. You can't imagine my delight at hearing from you Luke...")
  • You Will Be My Witnesses

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Some time ago now Joseph Bayly wrote a book called the Gospel Blimp. It's about the attempt of Christian neighbours reaching out to the community for Christ. The family purchased a hot air balloon to broadcast the gospel to the community and dropped "bombs" on the town. These 'bombs' were tracts wrapped in coloured cellophane...")
  • Ascension Resources

    Compiled by Suzanne Guthrie
  • Ascension (B)(2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Years ago a college friend of mine, who was like me pursing a major in German, was delighted to purchase an old German fairy tale book at a local garage sale. We enjoyed putting our German to use by reading these children's stories, although we were surprised at how horrifying some of them were. Because unlike the American versions of these stories, which seem to have been sanitized and tidied up, the original German tales are brutal...")
  • Into the Arms and Womb of God

    by Rex Hunt
    I am also reminded of the creative work of Miriam Therese Winter, a Catholic sister and theologian. In one of her many reflections she offers this: The God of history, The God of the Bible. is One who carries us in Her arms after carrying us in Her womb, breastfeeds us, nurtures us, teaches us how to walk, teaches us how to soar upward just as the eagle teaches its young to stretch their wings and fly, makes fruitful, brings to birth, clothes the lilies of the field, clothes Eve and Adam with garments newmade, clothes you and me with skin and flesh and a whole new level of meaning with the putting on of Christ.
  • Ascension

    by Steve Kelsey
    ("There is a wonderful mystery play from the Middle Ages about the . It is said that after Jesus was lifted up from the earth and was ascending to heaven, the two men dressed in white follow after, straining to catch up with Him. These angels cry out: 'Jesus! Jesus! Wait for us!'...")
  • Ascension: Cucurrucucu Paloma

    by Terrance Klein
    ("Cucurrucucu Paloma is a Mexican serenade about a love that cannot find rest, save in the arms of the beloved. There is no heaven without her. True, this serenade ends in sorrow, and that is not the fate of our love. Yet the longing is the same...")
  • Ascension: Hope Chest

    by Terrance Klein
    ("It's lined with cedar wood, to protect the fabrics placed inside. And there are those. Some embroidered linens, which I sent from Europe many years ago. There's also a battered ceramic statue of Saint Joseph, which belonged to my grandmother, and then to my aunt, until she also died. My grandfather's shaving mug and watch. And a lot of medals, which I won in high school. That exhausted my knowledge of the chest's contents, so I phoned my mother...")
  • Ascension and Embrace

    by Debra Dean Murphy
    ("I was puzzling over what to write here when across my Facebook newsfeed came the story of a New Englander who has offered a burial plot for the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Three weeks after Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police, and with no cemetery willing to receive his remainss, Douglas Keene of Vermont made the offer to Tsarnaev's family on the condition that it be done 'in memory of my mother who taught Sunday School...")
  • A Third Way

    by Larry Patten
    ("In the holy fiction of the Bible, I'm grateful for the Acts-only arrival of 'two men in white robes'. Their question was relevant 2,000 years ago and today: 'Why do you stand looking toward heaven?' Which is to say, get going, get to work. Don't waste your time judging others, but embrace each day as a time to create heaven on earth...")
  • While He Was Blessing Them

    Image for Worship by Jan Richardson
  • A Spirituality of the Ascension

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("When I was 22, in the space of four months, my father and mother died, both still young. For myself and my siblings, the pain of their deaths was searing. Initially, as with every major loss, what we felt was pain, severance, coldness, helplessness, a new vulnerability, the loss of a vital life-connection, and, the brutality and finality of something for which there is no preparation....")
  • Ascension

    by Jude Siciliano, OP
    ("I was watching a documentary about a team of climbers preparing to scale Everest. The film showed the elaborate preparations they had to go through before they put even one foot forward to begin their climb. They needed special clothing, oxygen tanks, tents, ropes, a communication system, maps, pinions and, of course, an experienced team of Sherpas...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • Christ Has Promised to Return

    by Mark Adams
    ("In his new book When Christ Comes, Max Lucado tells of a time when, as a little boy, he sang in the Odessa boys Choir. In the second year of his membership in this group the choir was enlisted by a local junior college drama department to play the part of the Munchkins in their production of The Wizard of Oz..." and other quotes)
  • The Gift of the Holy Spirit

    by Mark Adams
    ("Have you ever stopped to consider how wonderfully powerful AIR is? For example: it is common, every day AIR that makes it possible for huge planes carrying hundreds of people and tons of cargo to cruise at 30,000 feet above sea level. That same AIR in pressurized ballast tanks is what enables huge nuclear submarines to travel to tremendous depths in the world's oceans and then resurface when and where they want to...")
  • Vision Sunday

    by Mark Adams
    ("in some parts of the United States Greyhound racing is still a popular betting sport. In these areas thousands of foolish gamblers fill grandstands to watch these incredibly sleek and beautiful dogs run as fast as they can around an oval-shaped track. Now, unlike race horses, greyhounds of course run without the assistance of a jockey. So, to make the dogs race-and race in the right direction, they are trained to chase a life-like but mechanical rabbit as it zips along the track in front of them...")
  • Remembering the Memorialized: Truth to Power with Love

    by John Auer
    We may hear how this power of memory lives and works for Jesus at the end of John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. Tom Joad takes up the life and work of old family friend and mentor in the organizing of migrant farm laborers – whose name happens to be initialed “JC,” Preacher Jim Casy. He was crucified, clubbed to death by strike-breakers. Tom says goodbye to his mother – The sat in the coal-black cave of vines. Ma said, “How’m I gonna know ‘bout you? They might kill ya an’ I wouldn’ know. They might hurt ya. How’m I gonna know?” Tom laughed uneasily, “Well, maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but o’ny a piece of a big one – an’ then –“ “Then what, Tom?” “Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be around in the dark. I’ll be ever’where – wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ – I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build – why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Come of thinkin’ of him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes.” “I don’ un’erstan’,” Ma said. “I don’t really know.” “Me neither,” said Tom. Me neither. Us neither, brothers and sisters. We don’t know...
  • Thank You, Bird Women, For Keeping Us Down to Earth

    Narrative Sermon by John Auer
    My mother is here this morning. She is known to family as “Bird Woman” in more ways than one. Ever since her teacher, her Aunt Harriett, started a bird chart in her third-grade room, my mother never met a bird she could not spy and try to identify! Our coffee table teemed with bird books. When her kids left the nest, my mother replaced them with a nature print gallery there, featuring all her mostly local favorite bird artists.
  • Ascension

    by J. Barrington Bates
    ("an Englishman, who, when a very young boy, was taken to nursery school by his mother. Attentive to his anxiety about being abandoned, the boy's mother leaned down, kissed her son, and said, 'Good bye, my love. No one is leaving.' Each day, his mother would bid him farewell with those same words...")
  • Illustrations

    from Biblical Studies
  • Ascension, Adoption, Homecoming

    by Thomas Boogaart
    ("The road that links my house and Western Seminary is called College. For nineteen years now I have walked it up and down. I know where the sidewalk is cracked and where it has been repaired. I've watched cement being poured for driveways, silvery and new, and I have watched it darken as the pigment of fallen leaves bleeds into it...")
  • Scripting the Transformation

    by Amy Butler
    ("It was June, 1989, and you probably remember it. For months there had been organized protests by students, intellectuals and labor activists in the People's Republic of China, protests calling for reform of government policies limiting freedom. Early in the morning of June 4, the People's Liberation Army sent troops and tanks into the middle of the protests, into Tianamen Square to crush protests and disperse the crowds. The massacre was heartbreaking...")
  • Ascension

    by Ignacio Castuera
    ("Eddie Marderosian was a very smart young man who kept up with current events, knew a lot about astronomy and otherwise liked to shock my class and disrupt my teaching. Out of the blue, no pun intended, he asked, 'I wonder how far has Jesus traveled since the ...")
  • Is This the Time?

    by Dan Chambers
    ("In discussing the ascension of Christ, Joseph Campbell says it sounds like someone has just floated up in the air. Literally, that is what is being said. But the meaning is quite different. Campbell says: 'The denotation would seem to be that somebody ascended to the sky. That's literally what is being said. But if that were really the meaning of the message,then we have to throw it away, because there would have been no such place for Jesus literally to go......")
  • Different Ways to Bring People To Christ

    by Min J. Chung
    ("Chuck Colson quote: 'During World War II, after Hitler blitzkrieged his way across France, demanding the unconditional surrender of the Allied forces in the European theater, thousands of British and French troops dug in along the coast of northern France in a last-ditch effort to hold off the German forces...")
  • Our Global God

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("What does witnessing to the resurrection look like today, two thousand years later? I think the writer, agrarian and iconoclast Wendell Berry points us in the right direction when he suggests that we offer a powerful, radical 'witness' to Jesus when we 'live resurrection'...")
  • *Is Your Soul Phone Ringing?

    by Tom Cox
    ("One teacher, fed up with the interrupting chirp of phones during class, challenged his students to record their actual phone conversations for a week. By his reckoning, the returns showed that most of the lengthy communications were totally unnecessary...")
  • *Departures and Arrivals

    by Tom Cox
    ("Schooldays are not a bad parallel either for what takes place on Ascension Day. In every departure of a parent as they leave their offspring off – there is a goodbye but no real leave-taking. The farewell is only temporary...")
  • *Joy in the Journey

    by Tom Cox
    ("Detectives look for clues after an incident, bereaved relatives divide the estate of a loved one. Computer users leave electronic "footprints" all the time; the delete key does not wipe them out. It seems that one way or another we all leave traces after us- reminders of our presence at a particular place and time...")
  • *Signs of Contradiction

    by Tom Cox
    ("The tall Sixth Year stood at the exit door during the Ascension Mass in a school. Throughout, she examined her fingernails, folded the hymnsheet over to an intricate design and after the Gospel took to a serious perusal of her diary. An adult delicately suggested afterwards that Ascension Day didn't mean much to her. 'Why should we celebrate his going away;' she said; 'He hasn't come here yet.'...")
  • You Shall Receive Power

    by Fred Craddock
    Anything by Craddock is worth a look!!
  • *Ascension/Easter 7B

    by Judith Evenden
    ("Thirty years ago, next month, I stood at the grave side of my grandmother, my father's mother. Many said her death was a blessing. After all, she had been sick for many years, a victim of that dreaded disease, Alzheimer's, which steals away our loved ones one memory at a time. This was my first funeral as a young teenager and so I as unsure of how to act, where to stand, what to feel...")
  • Ascension

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("A bombing of civilians in the town of Ennishillen, Northern Ireland in 1987, killed many civilians. The IRA claimed responsibility, leaving no doubt of the perpetrators. A 20 year old student nurse Marie Wilson, was trapped in the rubble with her father, Gordan. She asked him if he were all right...")
  • Living in the Time Between

    by Richard Fairchild
    "A Russian psychologist by the name of Pavlov who pioneered in the techniques of conditioning did experiments with dogs - He first rang a bell, and then a second later gave them some meat. After doing this a few times - he rang the bell - but did not give them the meat. Even though the dogs did not get the meat - they salivated - their whole system was geared to receiving meat..."
  • Concerning the Second Coming of Christ

    by Arthur Ferry Jr.
    ("On May 19, 1780, during the anxious days of the Revolutionary War that darkness came at noon. Bats flew and chickens roosted. A meteorological phenomenon seemed to bring day to an end when the sun was at its zenith. Panic broke out, and many thought the end of the world was at hand...")
  • Ascension/Easter 7A (2002)

    by Tim London
    There is a lovely story told about the Member of Parliament, Ian Paisley: Matthew Paris, one time conservative member (and now broadcaster and journalist), as a newly-elected MP went to take his place in the House of Commons and was surprised to find Ian Paisley sitting on the Government benches. Sitting next to the controversial Irishman he remarked, 'I didn't expect to find you sitting here on the government benches. I thought you'd be with the Opposition...' Paisley gruffly replied (and I can't do an Ulster accent!) 'Never confuse being by your side with being on your side'...
  • Jesus Is Lord

    Narrative Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • A Name Above Every Name

    by Frank Fisher
    ("Lowell Striker tells a story of two lawyers who ran into a bad beginning while they argued a case in court. From the first words of their opening arguments the two lawyers began calling each other names...")
  • Majesty and Ministry

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("An ancient legend tells of the return of Jesus to glory after his time on earth. Even in heaven he bore the marks of his earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death. The angel Gabriel approached him and said, 'Master, you suffered terribly down there. Do they know and appreciate how much you loved them and what you did for them?'...")
  • *Don't Just Stand There!

    by Mark Haverland
    ("The departure of a beloved friend was just as tough for the disciples as it was for Elliot in the movie ET. They knew they had to let go, but they also knew that this meant they would lose a friend. Jesus was like E.T. for they both ascended back into the heavens from whence they had come in the first place. Jesus and E.T. both told their friends that although they were leaving, they'd still be among them, inside them, perhaps as a glow in their souls..." and other illustrations)
  • No Way Jesus

    from Homiletics Online
    ("His name is Hans Rey, and he likes to ride bikes. On the roof of his house. Every once in a while, Rey goes down into the garage of his little hillside house in Laguna Beach, California, and looks over the 12 bikes he has stored there. Today, he picks out the gray GT Ruckus with the full suspension, takes it into his back yard, climbs on and then bunny-hops it up 16 stairs to a deck...")
  • It's Not for You to Know

    by John Jewell
    ["Every parent who has ever taken a long trip by automobile with a child knows the most common words spoken by children during those trips - sometimes within moments of departure. 'Are we __________ ?' (There yet?)...."]
  • Do Not Stay Too Late on the Mountain

    by Greg Kandra
    ("The other day I read the news that Tamar Hennessey had died. Don't be surprised if you've never heard of her. She was an obscure figure to most Catholics, but not insignificant. She was the daughter of Dorothy Day. Long after her mother had died, Tamar remained active in the causes that Dorothy Day championed. She worked tirelessly to help those who were poor, disadvantaged, outcast....")
  • What Do You Know?

    by Nancy Jo Kemper
    Scroll towards the bottom of the page for this resource.
  • Clouded Vision

    by David Leininger
    ("Sometime back Rob Elder recalled being dropped off by his parents for his freshman year at college. He wrote, 'Just days before I had gotten myself all packed up, ready to head for school, and asked my brother if he thought I looked like a college man. "No," he said, "you look like a freshman."...")
  • He Ascended Into Heaven

    by David Leininger
    ("E. Stanley Jones, a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi, commented that after Gandhi's assassination, the radio constantly broadcast programs that eulogized the father of that great land. He noted that a Mrs. Naidu, a well-known Hindu poet, spoke on Sunday, three days after the assassination. She had been in frequent contact with the Christian community in India..." and other illustrations)
  • Dear Theophilus

    by John Manzo
    ("It is said that when Constantine called the bishops of the early church to Rome to discuss the role of the Church in the Empire, Constantine was appalled at what he saw. The men who came to Rome were a battered, beaten group. Many were missing eyes, tongues, limbs, and all were beaten, bruised and scarred...")
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Kingdom

    by David Martyn
    "In one scene from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, they discover a computer and an old video clip. The leader speaks: 'Seven and a half million years our race has waited for this Great and Hopefully Enlightening Day!—The Day of the Answer!' Hurrahs burst from the ecstatic crowd..."
  • *Ascension (B)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Seb was selling tart cards. Seeing the collar, he engaged me in conversation - as he hurriedly concealed his tart cards in a pocket of his hoodie. His pal fell into line very close behind me. I remembered getting mugged this way before...")
  • *Ascension (C)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("I have a friend who is a politician. Unfortunately, he's not a very good politician. After 25 years of trying very hard, he has never yet been elected to Parliament. His problem, however, is that the place where he lives is a stronghold of one main party and he belongs to the other main party. So the chances of him ever getting elected are really pretty slim. But once I asked him what he would do if he ever was actually elected to power...")
  • A Museum Faith No Longer

    by John Pavelko
    ("William Seymour was born in Louisiana, the son of former slaves.We was raised a Baptist and as a young man had several intensive dreams and visions.He contracted smallpox and went blind in his left eye at the age of 25.About this time, he moved to Indianapolis and worked as a railroad porter and waiter in a fashionable restaurant..." and another illustration)
  • The In-Between Time

    by W. Maynard Pittendreigh
    ("I have a friend who is moving from one city to another. He has sold his home but he is building a new home, and it is not ready to move into -- yet. So he and his family are literally living in a motel room for the next two weeks. Now understand, this man has been through a lot of trials and tribulations...")
  • Ascension

    by Paddy Quirke
    ("Richard Bach’s two books: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions—the Reflections of a Reluctant Messiah have Messianic overtones. The first part of Jonathan Livingston Seagull ends with a scene strikingly similar to Jesus’ Ascension into heaven...")
  • The Blessing

    by John Ewing Roberts
    ("The title poem of Shel Silverstein's book Falling Up, is all about a child who soars and whose world is turned upside down with a disturbing result: I tripped on my shoelace And I fell up - Up to the roof tops, Up over the town, Up past the tree tops, Up over the mountains..." and other quotes)
  • Ascending to the Depths

    by Gary Roth
    ("It reminds me of the true story told to me by a black pastor who was involved in the civil rights movement. It was back in the early fifties, and he was newly ordained, and was sent to a small town in the deep south. He had no sooner arrived there, than he was called by a family in the church - a white woman was raped, and their son was charged. Before the police got there, he had already been lynched...")
  • Why Are You Standing There?

    by Jeeva Sam
    ("It is a scene that has been repeated many times over in the world of movies. The famous last scene. The scene that brings the two, three or four hour adventure to a closure. You see a car pulling away from the driveway of the family home. You see a train start chugging away from the station...")
  • And Now, the Gospel of Judas

    by Martin Singley
    ("What is so amazing about the Gospel of Judas is that the man we Christians have long-scorned as the betrayer of our Lord is presented in a completely different light. Here he is not the evil, corrupt, devil-inspired follower of Jesus who betrayed his master. He is instead Jesus' closest friend, the one who understood Jesus better than anyone else...")
  • Heaven

    by Martin Singley
    ("Three men die and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says to the first one, 'Let’s see, according to the report I have on you, you’ve led an outstanding life. You’ve never been in trouble with the law, you haven’t committed any major sins, and you’ve belonged to the Community Church. You can go right on into heaven.'...")
  • The Adventure Begins

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, all excited he called the curator of a prestigious natural-history museum. 'I've just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!' the excited scientist exclaimed. The curator told him to, 'Bring him in. We'll check it out.'...")
  • Power Source

    by Catherine Taylor
    ("Two coyotes went up the river and they came to a big ledge. From there they saw people living below near the river. The two friends said to each other, 'You go ahead.' 'No, you go.' And for a long time, they argued...")
  • Not Just Sitting Around

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Larry Walters was a truck driver, but his lifelong dream was to fly. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. So when he finally left the service, he had to satisfy himself with watching others fly the fighter jets that crisscrossed the skies over his backyard...")
  • Let's Get to It

    Narrative Sermon by Pam Tinnin
    "The summer of 1961 we heard the Presbyterians were gonna send us a missionary. Seems like some folks up north had decided the poor people of Kentucky needed a new kind of religion. Our preacher Brother Charles had heard about it and was mad as an old banty rooster struttin’ in the yard..."
  • Don't Look Up, Look Around!

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time Jimmy Durante, the entertainer was asked to be a part of a show for World War II veterans. He told them his schedule was very busy and he could only afford a few minutes. They asked him to do a short monologue and he said he would come. When Jimmy got on stage something interesting happened...")
  • How to Be a Disciple

    by Dallas Willard
    ("Few have illustrated this better than Kirby Puckett, for 13 years center fielder for the Minnesota Twins baseball team. He had a career batting average of .318, made the All-Star lineup ten years in a row, and won six Golden Gloves for defensive play. He was one of the most loved men ever to play the game, and a well-known Christian. Dennis Martinez, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, once crushed the left side of Kirby's face with a pitch...")

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2018 and 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2015 and 2016

Other Resources from 2013 and 2014

Other Resources from 2011 and 2012

Other Resources from 2009 and 2010

Other Resources from 2004 to 2008

Other Resources from 1999 to 2003

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Dramatic Reading

    by Sam Hargreaves
  • Looking Up

    Drama by Dave Hopwood
  • Out of Sight, But Not Gone

    by Peter Haynes
    ("The year was 1772, and a Baptist preacher serving a small country church was called to pastor a large, more prestigious church in London, England. As the story goes, John Fawcett delivered his farewell sermon and packed up his family’s earthly possessions, ready to go. It was the tears of his parishioners, helping them load the carts, though, that really got to John and his wife...")
  • La Ascensión del Señor

    por Jaime Sancho Andreu
  • Ascension (Coloring Page)

    from Gordon Bannon
  • Power

    by Kathy Donley
    Soren Kiekegaard, a Danish philosopher and theologian, lived in Copenhagen in the 1840’s and 50’s. One day he noticed a girl with a beggar’s basket, leading three musicians down the street, begging. The musicians were blind. They were trained, classically trained. They were playing Mozart and Beethoven; “it was just marvelous music,” he wrote in his Journal. And a small crowd of street people joined them, they didn’t have any money, but oh how they enjoyed the music. And then down the street, clattering in their chariots, went those who had money, going to the evening’s entertainment. Kierkegaard wrote: “There are two kinds of people in the world; those who are willing but cannot and those who are able, but will not.” I agree with the Rev. Fred Craddock who says that Kierkegaard was wrong. Craddock says that there are actually three kinds of people. “Those who are willing, but cannot; those who are able, but will not; and then there’s you. . . .then there’s you.”
  • Seeing with Celtic Eyes

    by Anne Howard
    ("I find wisdom in the Celtic image of the Presence, particularly as expressed by John Philip Newell in his fine book Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation. Newell writes of Teilhard deChardin's concept of finding our true selves outside of ourselves, in the heart of the universe, the heart of all life, and in one another...")
  • Regreso a Casa

    por Joseph Madera, M.Sp.S.
  • Ascension (2010)

    by Alex McAllister
  • Ascension (2008)

    by Alex McAllister
  • Footprints

    by Donald McCorkindale
  • La Ascensión del Señor

    by por Angel Moreno
  • The Mystery Of Saying Goodbye

    by Ron Rolheiser
    ("When I was 23 years old, in the space of just three months, both my parents died. They were young, I was young, our family was young—too young, we felt, to let them go. But they died despite that and their leaving left a gaping hole in our lives. But after a time that void began to fill in and our sadness began to dissipate. It didn't happen quickly...")
  • You Will Be My Witnesses

    by Dave Risendal
    I listened to a very intriguing interview this past week on a religious podcast I follow. The subject of the interview was social activist, filmmaker, and musician Justin Dillon. Dillon has recently published a provocative book, entitled “A Selfish Plan To Change The World; Finding Big Purpose In Big Problems.” In this book, Dillon reveals what he understands to be the secret to a deep life with lasting significance: the discovery that our need for meaning is closely linked to the needs of the world. According to him, it is when we stop focusing on making our lives better, and start putting effort into making life better for others, that our own lives become richer and more meaningful. In other words, as John F. Kennedy once said, quoting 18th century French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, “...ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
  • Children's Literature

    from Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Waiting in Faith (SS)

    by Peter Andrew Smith
    (Scroll down the page for this resource.)

    Jack swung the bat and heard the ball hit the fence behind him. He stepped back and took a few practice swings to loosen himself up. Then he returned to the plate and nodded to Andrew on the pitcher’s mound. His friend wound up and threw the ball. Jack felt the bat connect and heard the crack but the ball went foul. He stepped back again and took off his helmet.

  • Not Just Sitting Around

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Larry Walters was a truck driver, but his lifelong dream was to fly. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. So when he finally left the service, he had to satisfy himself with watching others fly the fighter jets that crisscrossed the skies over his backyard...")