THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD
We remain between two points in time: God with us now and the day Christ will
return; thus we live in a world preparing itself for Christ’s return. Our focus is not to be on when He will
return. Our focus is to be preparing the
world for His return – whenever it may be.
We live in the world now, and this is where God lives with us. That Christ will return is a promise and a
source of strength and peace, but Christ intends us to be people not just of
the future. He intends us to be keenly
aware of the present and of our responsibilities for it. If we are distracted by worry about when
Christ will return, we will miss Him standing right in front of us.
At the moment of Jesus’ departure, as told in Luke’s Gospel,
the disciples were filled with such joy that they could not wait to begin
speaking praises of God. There was no sadness in the parting. We must
note, too, Jesus’ last act recorded in Luke’s Gospel. With hands upraised, Jesus gave His disciples
a priestly blessing, which placed them in God’s care. Jesus had sent the disciples forth to witness
to all that they had learned of the Father through Him, and they would need
help to do this; but, in so doing, they would begin to change in the world.
Luke’s versions of the Ascension have something to say to
us. The world is in transition.
Something had started in the life of Jesus that would be completed upon His
return. Although we live between the two moments, we must remember that we do
not just wait. God is here now. God is involved with us in our daily lives,
and Jesus wants us to know this. The
Holy Spirit was sent to impel us to go out and proclaim the ever-present love
of God. Unfortunately, we will get stuck
Although we wait for Jesus to come again, we have something
to do now. We are to continue the change
in the world begun by Jesus Christ by helping others encounter the God who is
still with us. We do this by caring
about people – Paul prays, “May he enlighten your innermost vision.”
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