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Celebrating Birth Days

May 12, 2018
By Pastor Bill Te Winkle

She is not as old as the calendar says she is.  Her quick wit and infectious smile belie her nearing the century mark (she is ‘really close’, but I am sworn to secrecy on how close!)

I had the opportunity to visit my dear old friend (meaning ‘long-time friend’) on her birthday, May 10, 2018.  I mention the date and year because this date is Ascension Day, the day the Church celebrates the return of Jesus in bodily form to the right hand of the Father, making way for the Spirit’s Pentecost arrival. I shared the text for Sunday’s sermon, where Jesus prays near the end of his earthly journey:  “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.” (John 17:11 NIV)

We smiled at our good fortune in having Pastor Donna’s upside down cake to share for this double celebration. And we talked about how fitting it was that, on this her “___th” birthday, she could have her mind directed to the joy which comes from knowing Jesus ascended from earth to heaven. And why, we discussed, could the departure of someone so loved be a source of joy to his friends? Well, why did Jesus ascend? To go to prepare a place for you, my friend! If it were not so, he wouldn’t have told us, Jesus says.

“Is my birthday always on Ascension Day?”, she wondered. I explained that, no, it was not.  In fact, it is pretty rare for May 10 to be the Thursday which is the 40th day of Easter and 10 days before Pentecost.  “Well,” she said, “ it won’t happen again in my life time.” (pause…smile) “At least it better not!” (I told you she had a quick wit.)

“…I say these things…so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (v. 13)

And on this day on which we celebrate my friend’s first birth, and anticipate her second birth, we saw in each other’s eyes joy.

O happy day.

Shalom,

Pastor Bill