Luke 24:44-53, Acts 1:1-11 – Ascension Day â€“ for June 1, 2014
â€œWhen he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.â€ (Acts 1:9)
Letâ€™s get one thing out of the way from the get-go, like eating all of your boiled spinach before you can even contemplate one bite of the apple pie a la mode dessert.
I donâ€™t think Jesus ascended â€œto heaven.â€ I donâ€™t think there was a moment on a hillside with a gaggle of disciples, Jesus bestowing some final marching instructions, and thenâ€”a cloud as heavenly elevatorâ€”rising into the Wedgwood blue sky over Jerusalem.
Sorry, rap my knuckles with a ruler or threaten me with getting none of that apple pie and its melting ice cream with real flecks of vanilla beans, but Iâ€™ll not change my rational, scholarly, faithful mind about the ascension. Maybe whenâ€”with apologies to St. Paulâ€”I â€œspoke like a childâ€ and â€œthought like a childâ€ I might have believed Jesusâ€™ departure a la cloud from terra firma into and beyond the troposphere. But Iâ€™m an adult now and have put an â€œend to childish ways.â€
He ascended into heaven, the Apostleâ€™s Creed declared. I bite my tongue, I resist a smirk. I think about Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay nearing Everestâ€™s summit, oxygen masks on. Iâ€™ve listened to serious airline attendants warn about the masks that will drop in case of an emergency. The airâ€™s thin â€œup there.â€ And itâ€™s nippy.
And yet. And yet. Continue reading →