Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
So our youngest child, son Caden, loves to poke fun at his sisters, especially the one right next to him in age, Cassidy.
So one time, when I saw an amusement park wheelchair rental station with a very young man and woman pull up in their wheelchair and the guy says, "Get up!" and she replied, "Will ya give me just a minute!!!" and he replied, "Ge-e-e-et UUUUUp!", then I just assumed they were brother and sister.
And so I said, "Are y'all brother and sister too?!?!"
And she replied, "No!"
And I said, "Well, y'all just sounded like my teenage son, pokin' at his sister."
And she replied, "No, we're on our honeymoon!"
And then Caden, who's standing right there, says, "Nice start!"
So, other than a giggle, what are we to take from this? Simply this: relationships work when we are kind to one another.
Specifically, in today's Bible verse, God is telling us to be kind to one another as God, in Christ, has been kind to us. And what does God's kindness in Christ look like? Well, Jesus came down from heaven to lift us up. Specifically, Jesus stooped down and took on the form of a servant, even unto death on a cross, in order to lift us up from the weight and penalty and power of sin and death. He forgave us!
And his forgiveness becomes ours when we believe in him. And his forgiveness is offered to others when we are kind to them.
Furthermore, one of the messages specific to today, Easter Day #40, which is the celebration of the Ascension of our Lord, is that when we are kind to others in God's ways then we ourselves are lifted up by God just as Jesus was lifted up when he finished his ministry of kindness and forgiveness to us.
So! Are you feeling down? Be kind to someone else. And God will lift you up!
Are you feeling a weight on your soul in a relationship? Maybe you need to forgive someone. And God will lift you up!
Are you feeling like God is far away? Remember and believe that Christ who stooped down in kindness on the cross is the same Christ who stoops down to you now by the power of the Holy Spirit. And God will lift you up!
So, Happy Happy Happy Ascension Day, celebrating both the lifting up to heaven of Christ and all who believe in him and also celebrating his kindness and forgiveness as he was lifted up on a cross for us!
And may God grant you the fruit of lifting up others as God invites us in Ephesians 4:32, saying, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson