by Timothy C.J. Quill
“While he was blessing them, he parted from them and was taken up into heaven.” – Luke 24:51
Since Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we live in a time of hearing not seeing. Preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins requires a mouth and ears: a mouth to preach, ears to hear. The forgiveness of sins goes in the ear: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
By the Holy Spirit, the Apostles heard the Word of Jesus and put it into writing so that Word can still be preached and heard even now, 2,000 years after His ascension, all around the world.
Even today, though we do not see, we believe and are blessed with the forgiveness of Jesus by the preaching and hearing of His Word.
The International Lutheran Council (ILC) exists to support this preaching and hearing through world theological conferences; theological scholarships, publications, and lectures; capacity building seminars; the Lutheran Leadership Development Program; the ILC Accreditation Agency; and more. All that the ILC does is aimed at strengthening Lutheran leaders, pastors, and teachers in building up the Body of Christ with the Word until the faithful attain the unity of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:8-13).
Lutherans the world over celebrate the ascension with their ears and mouths. One day we will celebrate our Lord’s ascension with our ascension, and with our eyes. Until then, we pray our Lord to preserve the preaching and hearing of His Word in His Church throughout the World. May He continue to use the ILC as one means of accomplishing His good and gracious will.
Rev. Dr. Timothy C.J. Quill is General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council.