Today is Ascension Day, it is a lesser known liturgical holiday in the church that always happens on a Thursday – because it is 40 days after Jesus was crucified that we celebrate the day Christ was Ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. In the first chapter of Acts (verses 1-3) we read about how Christ had spent the first 40 days after the crucifixion appearing to the disciples to convince the disciples that he was indeed alive, and to share with them about the Kingdom of God. Then, later (verses 6-11) we read all about Jesus ascending into heaven (something we talk about every week when we say the Apostles Creed).
To be honest, Ascension Day is not a day I had reflected much about until many years ago when I was part of a team of Children, Youth and Family Ministry folks that created a joint event in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods that was a breakfast for all of the Children, Youth and Family Ministry professionals for networking, support and blessing. This breakfast was held on Ascension Day and included a blessing from both Bishop’s and a sending to kick off the beginning of all of the summer ministries (camps, mission trips, VBS, Summer Stretch). This became an annual event and one I looked forward to every year. I was able to connect with colleagues I didn’t see often, network, and be inspired. It also meant that each year, I reflected on Ascension Day and what it meant – something, quite frankly, that I had never done before.
You’ve all probably heard the saying that “You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. We all probably know that be true, whether it is a person, or a thing. There are many things that I am realizing were more important to me than I thought – and strangely enough, this breakfast and this day was one of those things. I was so surprised this morning to realize how sad I was to be missing out on that this morning. In light of the things that we are missing, I’m trying to be more appreciative of all the little things.
I read a blessing this week for Ascension Day, and wanted to share it with you – so you all could share my appreciation for this day too. Take some time today, read this blessing, and then appreciate all of the people and things in your life that are important to you!
For Ascension Day It is not for us to know — and yet we desire the dates and times, heaven’s clandestine calendar synced with these earthly plans. Love incarnate is woven through the things we bear — even now the fabric of this social distance keeps and calls us all Essential. Forming faith looks different, the grief of this summer’s loss heavy and raw. Our collective lament echoes in the places we should be playing all together. But even these reverberations are worship to the ears of God who knows plague, who weeps for what is lost, who calls children into the very heart of things. The comings and goings of Jesus are tearing at that ancient schizo between heaven’s love voiced and the river still moving over and around. So look to the sky all you want, but also remember; the awe you feel is bound to the holy mess of now, your mortal view and a Spirit still moving to breathe peace, tend wounds and stir up wild hope. Be drenched in this power and trust the thing we are meant to know: We are becoming a new generation, ascending in liberation and love! @metaherrickcarlson