May 29, 2014
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into Heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell.
– Collect for the Feast of the Ascension
The Ascension has been the inspiration for much strange art – think Jesus’ feet dangling in the air and the like. Yet I have often found it to be one of those puzzlingly alluring images that reminds us to look up toward the Heavens and wonder toward what and where God is calling us. There is previous little in the life of faith that is clear. Sure, we have simply laid out commandments to love God and love neighbor and we have the clarity of the Sermon on the Mount. Yet, it is not in the call but in the response that things get tricky.
To what end are we being called? Where are we going? Why are we following?
The Ascension points us toward a glory that seems far removed from the everyday experience of living faith. It reminds me of the Transfiguration. It is an event that draws the imagination and reminds us of the divinity of Christ. Yet, they are events that point toward a certain truth – God is ever calling us to transformation and newness of life. That transformation is not one that we will comprehend or recognize and will come amidst the daily living out of our faithful witness.
The Ascension and the Transfiguration both are not the product of an instant but are God’s response to Christ’s faithful service to the Father. These moments are the points at which God reveals the nature of his Son’s glory – a glory rooted in the relationship between Father and Son. In living out the call to ministry and worshipful obedience, God gives these miracles to reveal the fruit of holy servanthood. These spectacular moments punctuate the day to day faithfulness of Christ’s walk among us.
Our own ministries will often feel confusing – we’ll wonder where, why, and how over and over again. Yet we too will know those moments of profound grace when things come together in a blessed way and people will see in us our loving God’s own hand at work. We’ll work day in and day out wondering to what end and then, in holy conversations, sacramental moments, and simple kindnesses we’ll feel glory upon glory shining around us. We’ll feel the call renewed and find refreshment as we know and feel just where our patient God is leading.
When have you felt the surprising glory of God breaking forth in your life and ministry in unexpected ways? Tweet about it with #Ascension to share with others.