Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Ascension: Coming up on Waterskis

“We believe that all the ties of friendship and affection which knit us as one throughout our lives do not unravel with death.” 

This line is used at the Vigil Service for funerals.  I think it’s important that we remember this notion as we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension.  In the Ascension Jesus is not leaving us… he has promised that “I will never leave you as orphans” (John 14:18).  In reality when Jesus ascends into heaven he takes us with Him.  Heaven and Earth are pulled together in the Ascension. 

As the weather breaks and summer is upon us I can’t but help of the image of water skiing.  I love water skiing myself and even more I love teaching people how to get up on skis.  Imagine that the boat is an image of the Ascension, Jesus is in the boat along with the communion of saints.  Here’s the thing though, there’s a rope that connects.  Now the Ascension is a great mystery of our faith and we who are in time and space must experience this as a process or a transition. 

So if you’ve ever water skied you know what it is like to be out there in the water.  Your half floating, half sinking, your skis are going back and forth rather clumsy and you’re holding onto the only thing you can… the rope.  Now comes the moment of transition, the moment of ascension. 

The boat starts to move, there is tension on the rope, and as the boat picks up speed there is some time of transition.  As you are pulled the water rushes over your head, you have to hold on tight to the rope, you can’t see, you have to hold your breath and wait for a moment until the boat begins to plain out.  This is the moment of transition.  It can be fast and disorienting and confusing, but you just hold onto the rope and allow yourself to be pulled out of the water.  And when you do, you find that you are still connected to the boat and everyone in the boat is excited and cheering you on to see that you too have ascended above the water and are skiing! 

The Ascension is a similar experience.  As Jesus ascends it happens suddenly and the disciples are looking at the sky intensely.  Two angels appear to them and ask why they are standing there looking up at the sky and before they know it they are commissioned to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature… in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.  They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."  They too have ascended and are living the resurrected life. 

Where are you in your faith?  Are you experiencing the life of the Resurrection?  Are you living in the Ascension?  Do you believe that your loved ones that have gone before you are still with you?  They are even more present now than they ever could have been here on earth.  “We believe that all the ties of friendship and affection which knit us as one throughout our lives do not unravel with death.” 

So hold on to the rope.  Hold on to Christ.  Allow Jesus to Ascend and bring us with Him so that right here on earth we meet with heaven. 

Hold on to the rope… and hold on to Christ. 

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