Ascension…

For years I have taken the Ascension at face value, believing what I had been taught as a child and not questioning my faith that states:

Christ died,

Rose from the dead, and

Ascended into heaven.

I know that heaven is not where I was taught it was; somewhere above the clouds, or beyond the clear blue sky on a Texas summer’s afternoon.

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Why I never thought any deeper about the reasoning behind the divine ascending feat is one of those mysteries I am faced with on a daily basis…

Like putting butter on a burn, my grandmother did it for me when I was learning how to cook, it helped, I didn’t question it’s effectiveness.

I still do it, I don’t know why it works, there are other burn aids I can buy over the counter that may work better, but I  use butter.

Through the decades I’ve come to acknowledge that the heaven of my childhood is probably not exactly the heavenly kingdom Jesus was talking about…it could be but likely it’s not.

But I haven’t ever questioned the mechanics, the why’s and wherefores, of His Ascension.

I know from the bible that when He rose He appeared to be human to His disciples.

He encouraged Thomas to touch his wounds. (John 20: 24-29)

He also entered locked rooms apparently unhindered by walls and closed doors so there was something different about this resurrected Jesus,

His disciples recognized him…almost immediately.  (Luke 24:30)

He cooked breakfast for them on the beach and joined in the repast.

After forty days of doing many things, (John 21:25)

“He was lifted up and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

The angel’s words,

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw Him go into heaven.”  (Acts 1:11)

are all they were left with…a promise that He will be back.

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Why did Jesus make this show of rising into the heavens?

Our priest at St. Peter’s in McKinney suggests that if He’d just vamoosed into thin air, which He could have done, the disciples would have been forever looking for Him,

Casting glances over their shoulders,

Convinced they’d seen Him in a crowd, or on the road ahead.

Distracted by stories of sightings from other parts of the land.

They would never have given up the search,

Their part in spreading the Word would never have begun,

Christianity would have been a passing phase.

He had to be lifted up and taken away bodily so His disciples could tell their story without continually looking around for affirmation from the boss, making sure they’d got it right.

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They had to perform the miracles, convince the crowds, baptize the followers, share the Good News,

Themselves.

Ten days later they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, (another visible action to fire them up so to speak) and found they not only could speak in many languages and spread the gospel far and wide as Jesus had commanded,

“…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)

they also had the courage to persevere because now they believed the Holy Spirit was with them.

Now I see the the Ascension in a completely new light and I wonder why I had never delved deeper into all its implications!

Theological questioning is such a rich way to draw closer to God.

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1 Comments

ElRay

2016-05-25 17:02:32 Reply

Nicely said!

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