There is a lovely Gershwin song called Someone to Watch Over Me. You might recall this:
There’s a somebody I’m longing to see,
I hope that he Turns out to be—
Someone who’ll watch Over me.
I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood
I know I could, always be good,
To one who Watched, over me.
Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need,
Someone, to watch, over me.
Someone, to watch, over me.
In the song, it’s a young woman who is looking for this perfect Mr. Right to watch over her. Don’t we all long to be watched over? Isn’t it true that no matter how old we are, we feel better, safer, calmer, more secure, when we have someone watching over us?
I remember those times, when I was a kid, that my parents would go out for the evening, I never felt quite right. And, if the weather were stormy, I was all the more queasy. I relied on my parents to watch over me, for me to feel safe, calm, secure. Someone to watch over me.
I’ve found it interesting, since I’ve grown up, that enduring a storm, all alone in the house, is not nearly as easy as enduring a storm with at least one more person in the house. It’s not as though that other person can do a thing about the storm—they can’t do anything more about the storm than I can—but just having someone there, well, that makes all the difference. Someone to watch over me.
When we get sick, we especially want someone to watch over us. It is never fun to be sick, but it is even worse when you have to be sick by yourself. Ah, but when you have your mom or spouse or another loved one to watch over you, well, it makes being sick a whole lot easier. Indeed, isn’t that the case with any of the trials of life? Any hardship is easier to take when we have a caring person helping us through. Someone to watch over me.
All of this leads me to what this special Church day is all about. It has been forty days since Easter, which makes today The Ascension of our Lord. Part of the Lord Jesus’ ascension into heaven has to do with the Kingship He earned by suffering in our flesh and paying for our sins. By ascending into heaven, Jesus took His rightful place as King over all of creation.
Another part of our Lord’s ascension was so that He could send the Holy Spirit to us. We can think of it this way: If the Lord Jesus were still on earth, He would only be taking one prayer at a time, in the form of one visitor at a time or one phone call at a time. But, by ascending into heaven and sending the Holy Sprit to us, we have a spiritual, heavenly connection to our Savior, and He can take as many prayers at a time as we can send Him.
Doesn’t it seem funny, though, that it was just before the Lord Jesus left that He proclaimed, “Surely, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20)”? He makes this claim, and then, poof, He disappears into the clouds.
Someone to watch over me?
Yes. Despite His bodily going to heaven, this is exactly what our Lord is doing from His throne: He is watching over us. When the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, He wasn’t going on a long, long, long, vacation from which He would return when He reappears on the Last Day. No, the best reason that He ascended was for Him to keep on doing what He had been doing on earth.
What had He been doing on earth?
• He had been healing the sick.
• He had been forgiving sins.
• He had been teaching about God’s way.
• He had been hearing prayers and answering them.
• He had been bringing peace to the troubled.
• He had been feeding the masses on heavenly food.
• He had been sacrificing Himself for His creation.
And that is exactly what He continues to do as He watches over you and me.
I find this so comforting, so dazzling, that our King is also our ultimate servant, that Jesus Christ— who deserves to be served and celebrated and honored and worshiped and glorified—doesn’t simply sit in heaven and take all the acclaim that He has earned—and earned it He has by wearing our flesh and bearing our sin. Rather than acting as we would act if we were a king, our Lord Jesus Christ still does the work of the ultimate servant.
• On earth, He healed the sick. From heaven, He heals the sick. He does it through medical science. He does it through the gift of faith which confers His grace by which we are ultimately healed for all that harms us and takes our lives.
• On earth, He forgave sins. From heaven, He forgives our sins. Indeed, all of Christ’s forgiveness is the ultimate healing which each of us needs. It is the spiritual healing that brings eternal life.
• On earth, He taught the way and the truth and the life. From heaven, He teaches us the way and the truth and the life. He does it through the Holy Bible, and then through the proclamation and instruction which we do in and as His Church.
• On earth, He heard and answered pleas and petitions. From heaven, He hears and answers our prayers. Indeed, He assures us that He hears and answer every single one of our prayers (John 15:7; John 14:13, Matthew 7:7), always according to His good and gracious will—always, according to what He knows is best for us.
• On earth, He brought peace to the troubled. From heaven, He brings peace to us when we are troubled. “Come to me,” He invites we who are weary and burdened, “and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”
• On earth, He fed the masses on heavenly food. From heaven, He feeds us on the heavenly food of His own body and blood in Holy Communion.
• On earth, He sacrificed Himself for His creation. From heaven, He continues to sacrifice Himself for us through His humble service, always on duty, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
In other words, He watches over us. He is someone—He is the best someone—to watch over you. That is the good news that makes you feel safe, calm, and secure.
You are secure in the eternal love of your Savior, who watches over you. He is the Faithful One. As the Lord Jesus Christ has promised, He is with you always, until the end of the age.