The Good News of Ascension Day
I had forgotten, until my mom called me to say she had read it, that I had written today’s meditation in Walking with God Day by Day. This book, published by Forward Movement, is a collection of meditations for every day of the year. I mentioned it in an earlier blog post. Anyway, here are a few thoughts for Ascension Day.
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven is one of the stranger occurrences in the Bible. The idea of this day—the fantastic notion that Jesus ascended into heaven—can seem distant from our faith in a scientific age.
We should not let questions about the physics of the day interfere with our understanding of its meaning. Before he departed, Jesus blessed his followers and trusted them to carry on the work of being loving, incarnate in a broken world. Jesus’ words to his disciples as he was leaving are recounted in Matthew 28:20. He says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Today, two thousand years later, that is still true. Jesus asks us to carry on his work—sharing God’s love, spreading the kingdom, and inviting people into closer relationship with God. It’s a big job. We cannot do it on our own.
We need God to do the work that we are given. When we read the newspaper or look at our world, it’s not hard to see the need for God’s love. Perhaps we know fear in our own lives—fear of the unknown, fear of an uncertain economy, fear for our safety, fear of changes too vast to comprehend.
Fortunately, we do not face this world alone. We have God, and we have one another. As we gather in church or in prayer, we are reminded that in Christ we are one mystical body, together seeking to carry on God’s saving love for the whole world. As we enter a world that can seem scary, let us go forth knowing that Jesus has blessed us to do the work that God asks of us.
Isn’t that great news? We don’t have to solve the problems of our lives, much less the problems of the world, on our own.
* Even though my archnemesis is featured in the book, I think you will manage to like it. He shares space with some fantastic writers and cool people.