Ascending into life
And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:23
The Feast of the Ascension dates back to at least the 4th Century but probably from much earlier. The day was once called Holy Thursday but now is nearly universally referred to as Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter, when we commemorate Christ's return to God. The above verse from Ephesians reminds us that the Church is Christ's body - imperfect and still learning - which reminds us that Christ is still with us. Ascension calls to mind the reality that Jesus is not physically here any longer but longs to be physically embodied in us, His Spirit moving us forward into life, working that which He would have us do. The power of Christ is not diminished but longs to see the world transformed by that power. Ephesians tells us "... what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead ..." "... this power" that Ephesians speaks of is the power of God's love in Christ, the healing balm for a hurting world. The world promises us pain but, much more than that, Christ dedicates us for love and eternal blessing.
We have begun the season of graduations as our young folks, from high school and college, end one season of their lives and begin a new one. They ascend out into the world, often away from family and home, to test the waters of the world, find their dreams, struggle with realities, etc. Our young adults go into an uncertain and sometimes grim new world - a reality of climate change, political and economic instability, apathy towards the poor, and a lion's share of the world's spoils going to the small percentage who long to control it. The power of God in Jesus Christ is, actually, our best defense against greed, cynicism, despair, and tunnel-vision pursuit of gain. The love of Jesus Christ that never fades can be our armor and shield against becoming discouraged by things great and small. Christ may have ascended but His Spirit, teachings, and saving love are still very much present.