Revd Sara’s Reflections Ascension
Acts 1:6-11 describes the Ascending Christ. First, the disciples quiz Jesus about the fulfillment of history, the restoration of Israel. Jesus' response is purposely vague, and still remains good counsel for those who seek a precise date for judgment day or the fulfillment of history. "It is not for you to know the times or periods." Rather, we are to await the coming of God's Spirit and the missional power that comes from encountering the Holy, whether in the 1st or 21st centuries.
Finished with his counsel, Jesus is lifted up, and the disciples are left gazing into the heavens until an angel admonishes, "Why do you stand looking toward heaven?" The angel promises Jesus' ultimate return, but that's not the point. The point is that the disciples' mission and our own is right here—in our time and place and on our planet not some far off sphere.
The point of Ascension is perspective. Rising to the clouds gives us a broader perspective on our lives and the planet. Rather than individualistic images of salvation and personal well-being, Ascension challenges us to bring heaven to earth, that is, to live Jesus' values in our world. As the Lord's Prayer proclaims, "Thy kingdom (or realm) come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." When we live from a higher perspective, we can transcend our own self-interest to embrace the well-being of the whole earth, including strangers, enemies, and non-humans.
On Ascension Day, we are called to "go up"—to find higher ground—not to escape Earth's crises, but to gain a vision and mission that is larger than ourselves or our communities. We don't need to look to the heavens to find inspiration. The ever-present God is right here, giving us all the guidance and inspiration we need, if we but look beyond ourselves. Our mission is here—to heal, to embrace, to welcome, and to love. We don't need to wait for a far off day of perfection and rapture. If God is always with us, then right here and now can be the day of transformation and fulfillment.
Please continue to remember the 10 days of Thy Kingdom Come and pray for your five people to have an awareness and knowledge of the love of God for them.
with love and prayers Revd Sara