The Scripture Passages this Sunday are:
- Acts 1:1-11
- Luke 24:44-53
Early Thoughts: Ascension. The last event in Luke's Gospel (and the first event in the book of Acts) tells of the Risen Christ Ascending into heaven. Since the same author wrote both Luke and Acts on has to wonder why he tells the same story twice--and why the stories are so markedly different--and yet still the same...
The part of the Ascension story that always jumps out at me is the end of the Acts account. In teh last couple of verses we read:
While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”I see some resonance with the Easter story here. At Easter the women at the tomb are asked "why do you look for the living among the dead?"
At the Easter moment we are dealing with folks who had watched him die. In the Ascension story we have folks who have just watched the Risen Christ ascend up out of sight. It makes sense that the people on both instances are looking where they are. And yet both times they are asked, as if they are doing something totally weird, why they are doing that.
Maybe we fall prey to the same thing? Maybe we look for Christ in the wrong places?
There are lots of hymns and images about Ascension. Many of them evoke power and glory. Much of the artwork has a pair of feet dangling from the top of the picture--the last glimpse of Jesus as it were. And yet one of the hymns we will sing this Sunday reminds us that Christ is also within us hidden, Christ is in the nitty-gritty of our lives.
WE are tempted to look up longingly to heaven. Maybe we are called to look down and side-to-side as well.