Malankara World

Sermon Based on the Lectionary of the Orthodox Church

Ascension of Our Lord

Who Am I?

Ascension/Graduation Sermon

Texts: Luke 24:44-53 & Ephesians 1:15-23

The 200-year-old church was being readied for an anniversary celebration when calamity struck: the bell ringer was called out of town. The priest immediately advertised for another.

When the replacement arrived, the priest took him to the steps leading to the bell tower, some 150 feet above them. Round and round they went, huffing and puffing all the way. Just as they reached the landing, the bell ringer tripped and fell face-first into the biggest bell of all. Bo-o-o-o-ong!

Dazed by the blow, the bell ringer stumbled backward onto the landing. The railing broke loose and he fell to the ground. Miraculously, he was unhurt—only stunned—but the priest thought it best to call an ambulance.

“Who are you?” the doctor asked the man.

“I don’t know,” the man replied.

“Do you know this man’s name?” the doctor asked the priest.

“No,” the priest replied, “but his face sure rings a bell.”

“Who am I?” That’s a question all of us find ourselves asking sometime or someone asking it of us. Often we associate it with youth, but it can be a question you find yourself pondering at most any time in your life.

It is not just a question of identity, but also a search for your purpose in the world, why you are here, the meaning of your life.

“Who am I?”

In a very real sense no one can answer that for you. It’s a personal journey you must make. No one can make it for you. No one can fully tell you who you are. You must discover this for yourself. But I would like to give you a few nudges in the right direction, a few hints that will help you as you seek the answer to, “Who am I?”

God’s Creation

Who are you?

You are God’s creation. God made you. God spent personal time just making you. I love these words from Psalm 139:

God, you created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.

I know it with all my heart.

When my bones were being formed,
carefully you put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that was was there you saw me before I was born.

(Ps 139:13-16a).

God knows you. God loves you. God created you. You belong to God. Only within this relationship will you find who you are and why you are.

At the Pan American Games, Greg Louganis was asked how he coped with the stress of international diving competition. He replied that he climbs to the board, takes a deep breath, and thinks, EVEN IF I BLOW THIS DIVE, MY MOTHER WILL STILL LOVE ME. Then he goes for excellence.

That’s not a bad way to begin every day of your life, taking a deep breath and saying, EVEN IF I BLOW IT TODAY, MY GOD WILL STILL LOVE ME, and then, assured of grace, go into the day seeking a perfect 10! For God made you. God loves you, even when you blow.

You Are Unique

Who are you?

You are unique. You are special. There has never been throughout time anyone exactly like you and there never will be.

Turn your palms up and look at them. If you look closely, you will see tiny swirling lines on your fingers - finger prints. No one has those exactly like you do. God made you that way. You are one of a kind in many ways.

Have you ever heard that saying, “What a wonderful world it would be, if everyone was like me”? Well, don’t think that would be wonderful at all! We need to be different. We need diversity. It enriches us.

If you have not found your uniqueness already, you will. Celebrate it. Let the world see it, hear it. For you have contributions to make that only you can give.

You Are Gifted

Who are you?

You are gifted. God has created you with untold talents and abilities. Some of them you already know. Others you will be discovering and developing all your life.

You no doubt have heard about the programs our schools sometimes have for the so-called “gifted” students. That has always bothered me just a little. Why? Because I believe with all my heart that every person is gifted. We are not all gifted in the same ways, but we all are endowed by our Creator with wondrous gifts. You are, each of you, in God’s gifted program.

It’s going to be fun watching you grow and discover and use those gifts.

You Are Disciples of Christ

Ascension celebrates the ascent of Christ back to God to sit at God’s right hand, the position of power and authority. Paul says that Christ is exalted, lifted up, and that all things have been placed under his feet.

Who are you?

I can tell you nothing more important than this - be disciples, followers of Christ. Exalt him above all else in your life. Look up to him as your hero, your role model, your Savior and Lord. Strive all your days to follow his teachings and his example. The more like him you become, the better human being you will be.

And this will help you in so many ways. Knowing you will follow Christ, already settles lots of things. it helps you know what you will do in lots of situations and how you will decide. Whatever the situation, whatever the decision, look at it as Christ would look at it. Decide and act like a Christian.

A Servant

Who are you?

If you follow Christ, the you will be a servant of God in the world.

You will not live your life just for yourself, putting yourself Number 1 all the time. In stead, you will put your life at God’s disposal, to be used in service to God and neighbor.

As you discover your gifts, your talents and abilities, consider how you might use them to serve God, to help others.

Your purpose in life is to so live and give yourself that the world is a better place because you were in it.

Conclusion

While walking through the forest one day, a man found a young eagle who had fallen out of his nest. He took it home and put it in his barnyard where it soon learned to eat and behave like the chickens. One day a naturalist passed by the farm and asked why it was that the king of all birds should be confined to live in the barnyard with the chickens. The farmer replied that since he had given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken, it had never learned to fly. Since it now behaved as the chickens, it was no longer an eagle.

“Still it has the heart of an eagle,” replied the naturalist, “and can surely be taught to fly.” He lifted the eagle toward the sky and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again.

The naturalist took the bird to the roof of the house and urged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and world and jumped down once more for the chicken food. Finally the naturalist took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There he held the king of the birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. You belong to the sky. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

The eagle looked around, back towards the barnyard and up to the sky. Then the naturalist lifted him straight towards the sun and it happened that the eagle began to tremble. Slowly he stretched his wings, and with a triumphant cry, soared away into the heavens. He has never returned to lead the life of a chicken.

You were not created for the barnyard, but for the sky!

You are not a chicken. You are an eagle.

So soar up and become all God has put it you to become.

See Also:

On Ascension Day
St John's Orthodox Church

Continuing the Work of the Master

What Happened Here?

To live in Heaven
by Dr. Robert Crouse

Going and Coming -- Ascension Day Sermon
by Dr. Robert D. Cornwall

Ascended and Still Present
by The Rev. Charles Henrickson

Three Wonders of Ascension
by The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove

Ascension Sermons and Bible Commentaries

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