Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
And this week, we mean REALLY risen!
Yes, we’re celebrating the Ascension today, the day when Jesus rose up before his disciples to go to his Father in heaven. Ascension is a funny festival. We refer to it in both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and in the Eucharistic Prayer, but if we hadn’t transferred it to be celebrated this Sunday, most of us would not have noticed anything different about last Thursday, which was the actual Day of Christ’s Ascension. In light of the fact that we frequently refer to the “Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord,” I wondered why we generally pay such scant attention to the latter.
Last year I acknowledged the difficulty of this passage for those who take things literally, or scientifically, for that matter. After all, Jesus jetting off into outer space is not something that we can match to any of our own experiences, even if it’s been the inspiration for countless paintings and icons down through the ages. It truly might have been smarter to just preach on the Propers for the Seventh Week in Easter, but there’s something that feels really important about the Ascension, even when we don’t completely understand it.