A Meditation on the Ascension of the Lord, Year C
(click here for biblical texts)
Does anyone observe Ascension Day today?
Our Lord bade farewell to trusted comrades
and rose in the sky, as one irreverent person said,
like a balloon slowly drifting to heaven
out of sight but not out of mind. Did this really
happen or is it a way of expressing the feelings
of disciples knowing Jesus was gone,
like a young child watching a loved
parent drive away after the divorce,
the child not sure she will ever see the
other again. And Jesus, did Jesus sob like the sad
parent on his way up? But wait. Even if we observe,
do we believe? And does it matter either way?
To believe ascension is different from believing
in Ascension; do the details, as we have them,
have to be true in order to know, to know, that
his friends felt his absence—they, unlike us,
may not have known for sure he would still be around.
Or do we know, do we trust that Jesus is here,
even though he ascended? Or are we so jaded by
science, by incessant needs for proof, scientific proof,
that we cannot grant God the power to do this, to let
Jesus rise right before their, our, eyes? And return,
even if not in the flesh? If we cannot, and
for many it must be so, then we are more powerful
than God—or at least God can only do what we allow
Him to do. What kind of God would that be?
Or can we understand with Karl Rahner that Ascension
tells us that God intends flesh be redeemed
and glorified? Flesh be glorified, is that even Christian?
So many years of hearing about flesh mortified, flesh
hung out to bleed and dry on crosses, flesh to be
tamed, can we think God really loves us, and our flesh,
enough to glorify and redeem it, not just
spiritually but even physically? Is God reveling
in our fleshiness? If not, what are we
to make of incarnation, Jesus fleshing God better
than any human, or as many say, the way only He can.
Whatever. Doctrine does not guarantee salvation
but following Jesus wherever he goes and
being with him wherever he is calling us
makes a good recipe for blessed, even holy, life.
May you feel Ascension in your heart and body,
if not your mind.
©Robin Gorsline 2016 lectionarypoetics.org
Please use the credit line above when publishing this poem in any form
About this poem . . .So many of us have lost connection with special holy days, and if we observe them at all we have moved them to Sunday, to avoid inconvenience in our daily lives filled with so much important business. Yet is the pain the disciples, men and women, humans all, must have felt, not worthy of remembrance? And what of our blessed, holy flesh: will we ascend someday? Will anyone remember?