yearning to find you,
calling your name,
but it is only
a single mother who turns
and wearily smiles,
a street person
who whispers 'hello',
a little girl who pirouettes
and takes our hand.
But you are still here, Lord,
Help us to see."
- Howard Thurman
Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, "This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of hear and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Look, I'm sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power."
He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lift his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. And they were continuously in the temple praising God.
When we think about the stories of Jesus, more often than not in the Disciples tradition, we aren't often focusing on the Ascension of Jesus. While it is an important part of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the story of the ascension in the days following that first Easter morning are often confusing and full of question.
Some theologians say that the ascension points directly to the divinity of Jesus, that after living on this earth, he ascends to be with the Divine God who sent him in the first place.
Theologian Normal Pittenger actually suggests the opposite, saying that the ascension points to Jesus humanity. Because like humanity, at some point Jesus must have an "end," and his life must be defined in some way.
What do you say? Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead he continues to appear to his disciples and point to the Creator that continues to pour out love and grace through Jesus Christ. But we do know that his earthly ministry DOES end, and Jesus ascends to be with God, promising the Advocate, the one that will continue to be present. Does this speak more to Jesus divine nature? Or does it highlight his human-ness?
Come join us on Sunday morning as we explore this paradox in the life of Jesus Christ. We will also bless and commission our Costa Rica mission team as they will head off to Costa Rica during church next week. All are welcome here at OPCC - no matter where you sit inside (or outside) this paradox of Jesus' life!