Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day

Unless you are connected with a parish named in commemoration of the Ascension, you might well miss the gravity of this day. It is all too easy to reduce this feast to the mere exit of Jesus. We might see this as the cosmic antithesis of, what goes up must come down. This perspective is one of great theological reductionism.

The Ascension must be viewed much the way we understand the Feast of the Incarnation, Christmas. The Incarnation is God taking on the human experience, through the taking on of the very flesh humankind shares. God reaches into our realm, as one of us, in the Incarnation. In the birth of the Christ, God embraces us.

Through the life, death and resurrection of the Christ, flesh is made new and rededicated to the pursuit of relationship to God, and one another. The one another piece is critical. All flesh is imbued with divinity, not that all flesh appropriates that divinity.

The Ascension is the completion of the embrace that starts with birth and incarnation. Jesus ascends to the Father, and is received by the Father. It is God’s saying another yes to humanity, redeemed by the infusion of grace, offered through the Son.

Our Job? Appropriate the grace and divine life, which is already ours.

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