Thursday, June 2, 2011
Ascension--shifting our gaze
Today is the celebration of the Christian holiday of Ascension. On Ascension the church remembers that 40 days after the resurrection Jesus ascended into heaven. The story can be found in Acts 1:1-11.
An excellent link that shares how Presbyterians view the ascension can be found at: http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/theologyandworship/ascension-day/
One of my favorite parts of the story is what happens after Jesus was ascended into heaven. Two men in white robes—most likely angels--(messengers of God) came to the disciples as they were looking up to heaven. “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
I have many take aways from this verse. One is the importance of not getting overly focused on heaven. I believe in heaven, salvation and want to encourage everyone to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. However getting to heaven and gazing upon heaven is not the only part of the Christian faith. In addition to gazing at heaven, we are called to gaze at the earth and the conditions of people here on earth.
We have much work to do to develop and create the kingdom of God here on earth. Our own country has a high rate of unemployment, politicians having a hard time compromising, a growing rate of poverty. We have plenty to gaze upon here. I hope the church can take a role in gazing upon the earth.
If our celebration of ascension can broaden our gaze to the conditions here on earth, then the holiday will have special meaning.