notre dame montreal

Happy Endings?

Notes for a Sermon preached by
The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman
Ascension Sunday, 1st June 2003

Has anyone seen any good films lately? How did they end? Was it a happy ending?

Can you imaging how the film makers such as Cecil B de Milne, Spielberg, or even Disney would portray the ascension of Jesus into heaven? It would be the happy ending to end all happy endings.

But is that what the ascension is about? Jesus going up into heaven (Candle)

Because according to the gospel reading today where Jesus prays for His disciples it’s more like a beginning than an end. A beginning where we are charged with being part of the happy ending.

It’s a bit like one of those plays where the audience decide on what the ending will be like.

Jesus prays to the Father and says that He has revealed Him, revealed His name, revealed His character so that they can know Him and His words, His framework for life.

Jews did not speak the name of God, Yahweh, but replaced it with Addoni.

Seems silly to us to give someone a name and not use it.

How crazy would that be at a baptism to give a child a name and then not let anyone use it.

The name reflected the character of a person.

And to those who responded to that revelation, He calls to share in His work of continuing to reveal His Father to the world, to bring about the happy ending.

Now He knows that’s going to be tough. He knows they will be persecuted. He knows they will be discouraged and tempted give up the job before it’s complete.

He knows that disagreements and disputes will break out between them.

So He prays that they will be protected by the name of the Father. Prays that they’ll be sanctified (set apart) for the task of revealing the Father.

And He gives them His words (not logos but pnuata) precepts/framework by which they can live and work out what the ending should be. A framework recorded in the gospels and the rest of the bible.

But it is just a framework, it’s not detailed down to the last letter of what it means for us as individuals, each one of us has to work it how exactly it applies to our own lives.

Just like the plays, where we get to have a say in the final ending .Or books where can chose the ending we like best where there are 2 or more different endings.

Just as many people have down the ages - and been faithful to the call.

Sometimes it is hard to share the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes we do get ridiculed.

Sometimes what we say does sound hollow. Sometimes we are confused and unclear about what we should be doing or saying. Sometimes we do get discouraged. Sometimes other Christians don’t see things our way.

But as a called people we are called to share His good news. The fact that we can have a relationship with the Father that never ends. The fact that the sins of a broken world can be forgiven. The fact that there is hope and a better way to live.

The fact that Jesus didn’t stay dead but rose again to be our friend. And ascended into heaven that we might have the power to live through the Holy Spirit. So that we too could be part of the best happy ending ever.

Imagine how the disciples felt when they say Jesus ascending into heaven.

It must have been a bit like when you bring your first baby home from the hospital. You’ve been to all the classes, you’ve watched it all done. Now it’s your turn.

Excitement and trepidation together – a bit like the Christian life.

But it does make for a happy ending

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