Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ascension Day 2012

How do you explain Jesus' ascension into heaven without diminishing the mystery? I've been looking at paintings of the Ascension of Jesus and find most rather ridiculous. So I've chosen some clouds to illustrate this post. Acts 1: 1-11 refers to a cloud that received Jesus out of his disciples' sight. Cloud is symbolic of the presence of God. And for me the Ascension is as much about presence as absence - about humanity raised into the presence of God and Jesus no longer confined to time, space or particular locality, but present and potentially available by his Spirit to all people, everywhere.

My favourite Ascension account is the end of Luke's gospel:
"Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. while he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God." Luke 24: 50-53 
I like this because it doesn't sound like an end, more like a beginning - as indeed it was.


Here's some good links to other posts about the Feast of the Ascension:

Malcolm Guite has written a beautiful sonnet for Ascension Day. Here it is from his post of 15 May 2012

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed . 

Good in Parts has a great idea for a school assembly in Christmas Backwards. I especially like the 'changing the light' part.

Last year my Ascension Day post was a reflection on Salvador Dali's painting, a painting I don't find ridiculous.

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