I work in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Reserve Naval Officer. This past week my Commanding Officer retired from his service and ceased working at our unit. This was very hard on him. It meant an end to his work. And it was clear he had a hard time leaving.
Thursday is Ascension Day. It is the day the Church celebrates our Lord's ascension into heaven to take His rightful place in the power seat of God. And this could lead us to thinking about His work in a similar way to my Commanding Officer. Done. Over. Finished.
But nothing could be further from the truth. St. Luke writes in Acts 1:1, "In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up..." Jesus is still "doing." Still "teaching" Luke tells us.
He is not like my Commanding Officer whose service ended. It was not hard on Him to ascend into heaven, because it did not mean the end of His work. Jesus took the throne in heaven in order to continue His work throughout the whole world, governing and directing it by the power of His Word. He sent His Holy Spirit to His Church that they might preach all that He has done. He is not gone - "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Christ is present in His preached Word and Sacrament. He is still working there. Still teaching there. Forgiving there. Saving there.
Your Lord does not retire. He does not slumber nor sleep. But for you, and for your salvation, uses the preaching of His Word and the giving out of His Sacraments to care for His people until He returns. May you cherish His gifts and seek Him there.