Rising to Heaven

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Happy Ascension Day!

How does one go about celebrating this day? Do we say, “Hooray! Jesus left!”

He died, which was terribly inconvenient. But then he came back to life! That’s good. Everyone’s happy. “So now what, Jesus?” “Is the kingdom coming?” “Are we all going to get our rewards for sticking with you?” John would have asked that last question.

“Haven’t you been listening. I’m leaving,” Jesus replied.

That’s awful inconvenient. What would be more evangelistic than the risen Lord himself doing a global tour? A month or so then he’s done? Even Caesar might make room in his schedule for an audience had he given at least a few more months to the task. And had he kept at it for a few more decades? Wow.

“I’m leaving,” Jesus said. “But for a good reason. If I don’t leave, the Spirit won’t come. So I’ll go ahead and rise back to heaven and then the Spirit will come, which is so much better. You won’t even miss me.”

“We won’t even miss you? How can that be, you’ve taught us so much.”

“Yeah, sure, but the Spirit will teach you all things. Everything. You know that’s a lot of things. And you’ll all be filled with the Spirit. So guess what that means.”

“Um, we’ll all be taught all things.”

“Exactly. Now isn’t that better? In the past only prophets or kings or other special folks were picked and filled by the Spirit. Now the whole lot of you will get the power. Isn’t that great?”

“So, you’re leaving then?” I suspect Peter might have asked something like this.

“Do we get to be in power, now?” James may have asked.

“Sheesh,” Jesus likely said, or the equivalent in Aramaic. “I’m not going to tell you when the Father is going to get things moving like that. Just wait. And the Spirit will come. Now, I’m going. Bye.”

“Um, where did he go?” Most of the disciples asked after about ten minutes as they stared upwards.

This is all terribly inconvenient really. Doesn’t make the least bit of sense. But that’s the way that it happened. Even if the Disciples would have preferred it happen some other way.

“Men of Galillee,” a couple of handsome fellows dressed in white soon said. They kind of appeared from behind a bush. “Why do you stare at the sky? He’ll be back, just like he left. But not now. Go home. Do what he said.”

Which really is good advice. Something to remember every Ascension Day.

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