Jesus said to his disciples, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you– that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
— Luke 24:44-53
Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven: May our hearts and minds also there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A few years ago, while on sabbatical, I had the blessing of visiting many sacred sites in and around Jerusalem. One of these was in Bethany at the site of the Ascension, where our Lord was “carried up to heaven.” When you are there, you can’t help it. You have to look up. You just have too. For perhaps by some gift of the Holy Spirit you might miraculously see a so very faint remnant of the Lord’s ascent. Like the lines across the sky still visible long after a plane is out of view.
Did I see something, feel something, perceive something that gives “evidence” of His journey. No. I simply saw the miracle of a beautiful blue sky. But, I was reminded to keep my eyes open for sightings of Heaven, to keep my ears open for the sounds of Heaven, to keep my heart open to the dream of Heaven, and through word and deed to keep aspiring for reality and promise of Heaven - that indeed God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Though on this day we celebrate our Lord’s ascent and return to the Father, let us remember that there is much of Heaven’s work to be done right here, right now on this most soild ground.
The Rev. Paul Jeanes III