"Ascension of the Lord @ Mother’s Day" –
May 13, 2018
Ps 47 (
781), Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53
What does the Ascension Day mean to us? The psalmist would tell us that God has gone up with a shout, or a merry noise as the
puts it. Luke more calmly tells us that he was parted from them and was carried up into heaven -
Old King James.
Does anyone besides me have a problem with this language? There really is no up or down. My old teacher Fred Gealy once said to some of us that Jesus neither came down nor went up. God doesn’t sit on a cloud like some
cartoon often puts it. The Ascension then cannot have been a visible event. Let’s not take this text literally. It is too important for that.
What then should we do–skip the readings for next Sunday as myth? No, those first century folks did the best they knew how for their time to say a word about the Lordship of Christ. They wish for every generation to know that in Christ Jesus there is indeed an enthronement, one greater than all earthly powers.
Dr. Gealy would say it is always the crucified, risen and exalted Lord who speaks. There is an enthronement at God’s right hand and as King of our lives, the Sovereign One who died for us comes. What then is a relevant word for this Ascension day in year of our lord May 13, 2018?
I think this was a political statement against the evil Roman Empire–a way of saying that we know one who in life or death is greater than Caesars; one high and lifted up and as he went away, he comes to every generation again as judge of the powers.
When we see world leaders, especially those behaving like dictators, as if they have the power to decide the fate of the world–I am reminded of one who in great humility (a lost word for our times) demonstrated for all of us a secret power that overcomes the evil behavior of kings, dictators, presidents, leaders.
This one who is high and lifted up as Lord–yes this very month, May 2018, if we are true to the text, comes to judge leaders, presidents, and kings. And his voice can be heard across the land when the Church, his body, decides to give voice–to wake the people. I think Ascension Day is just what we need to wake us up to the really awful, shameful, and dangerous behavior of our current leaders–Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Sunday is also Mother’s Day. Let us honor all mothers, living and deceased, who have lived in a world of rigid patriarchy, in which they had no voice that would be heard, who nonetheless loved us, and who taught their daughters (and sons) the importance of speaking truth to power, of never giving up.
Prayer: O Christ, who by thy marvelous majesty did after the resurrection from the dead ascend into heaven, grant we beseech thee, that according to thy promise, thou may ever dwell with us on earth and we with thee in heaven; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou reignest God for ever and ever. Amen (by Dr. Fred Gealy)