Last Sunday, between worship services, I walked our dogs. Occasionally on Sunday – even though the parishioners are not there – the local Roman Catholic church plays its carillon. Beautiful music. I loved hearing the Easter hymns: every one of which you can find in the United Methodist hymnal. I even sang along a few times. Archer and Rus Bailey didn’t complain but I did sing softly and, by myself, posed no threat.
The music was assuring: reminding me of whom and what I trust. And it was wistful: I wished for things to be as they were in many ways.
BUT: and here the but is huge. It was hard to listen to the music. Everything else kept claiming my attention. Archer saw a squirrel; Rus Bailey wanted to take care of business now. The train passing half a mile away blew its whistle. I saw an acquaintance and needed to wave. And my head and my heart (that is my thoughts and my fears) kept coming up with objections to what the music was singing.
Jesus ascended to draw all people to himself; and he ascended to show that God is above all and in all and through all. But (there’s that word again), an ascended Jesus might at first seem remote or removed from human pain even though we sing differently in Easter carols. An ascended Jesus, the Pancreator, is here?
That’s a slight problem I have learned for some folks with Ascension. But truthfully not for me. Jesus breathed on us; Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit which is the fire and certainty of God within us in the here and the now.
So as we make decisions about how to be the church scattered in homes and communities, as we decide when and how and if its right yet to re-gather, there is the promise of God for new life and new company: the company of the ever-present and ever-loving Jesus. There’s no problem with Ascension: that’s when Jesus showed himself and the God who sent him to be over all. And there’s no problem with Ascension because with Jesus ascending, Jesus also came to be here with you and me. And to be Lord of the Church who gives and offers the Word of Life.
Thanks be to God!
If you would like to view past editions of Hello from Harvey, follow this link: https://capitaldistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/