Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ascension Day: Up to Us

[Image:  From St. Andrew Anglican Church in Toronto, ON]

The celebration of Jesus's vacating our planet happens to fall at the start of this middle school teacher's summer vacation, so I felt a strong need to join the few parishioners who took time last Thursday evening for an extraordinary church service.

Our rector Fr. Roger Allen began his sermon with the line from Acts, spoken by the strangers in white who ask the gaping apostles, "Why do you look up?"  Fr. Roger hardly had to add anything, because the angels' rhetorical question inspires us: Don't look up to Jesus; look around to our church community - for Jesus left us to fill the vacuum.  Sure, we remember at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit animates, comforts, and counsels us; but there is no other body of Christ on earth besides us.

On Sunday, Fr. Roger did add something when he observed that many Christians "stop" before Ascension in their experience of the Church's calendar, and of church itself.  For some, it's all Christmas, or all Easter - Jesus came, died for our sins, and his work is all over and done with.  Ascension reminds us not to look up to Jesus to heal, to feed, to stand for justice: It's up to us.          

(See "Jesus Ascended:  Then What?" my reflection on the Ascension Day service of a couple years ago, with the image of a stained glass window that depicts only the feet of Jesus above the apostles.)

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