They ascended into heaven.
Gone, but not gone.
Ascended, but still with us.
Alive among us
No longer sad at their leaving,
we wait in joy and wonder
for the Spirit.
we wait to do their bidding,
to go out to all the world
to tell the Good News
that God loves us so much They chose to live among
Crucified Risen Lord lives still among us.
Lo, They are with us always
even unto the end of the world . . .
Ascended Lord, ever Emmanuel!
-Ann Barr Weems
On the fortieth day after Easter, the church celebrates the Ascension of Our Lord. It is an event that is simultaneously an ending, a continuation, and a beginning.
It is an ending because Jesus ascends to heaven. They are no longer with the disciples in the flesh, as they were when they traveled with them through Galilee and Judea.
It is a continuation because Jesus still lives among us and in us. We may not see them physically, but they continue to companion us just as they companioned the twelve.
It is a beginning because the age of the church is poised to begin. Jesus’s ascension is a vote of confidence in us, in the church as their risen body in the world. Jesus sends us to proclaim God’s love and graciousness, extending the hand of healing and fellowship to everyone.
As we look forward to the festival of Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we realize that we are not alone. Jesus leaves us so that they can be present within us and through us. Amen.
Poem From Searching for Shalom © 1991 Ann Barr Weems. Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.