Study: Transitions are a time of uncertainty. Consider a time when you experienced a transition: how did it feel? How did you face it?
Pray: When faced with the unknown we come to the Lord for direction. Pray that the Holy Spirit will send both wisdom (to know what to do), and strength (so you can do it).
Serve: Who in your life is alone right now. How might you walk with another in a time of transition and uncertainty?
There are moments in life when it is difficult to say good-bye. Whether it is a relocation through work, the completion of school, or the death of a loved one, we know that these events challenge us to move on with the transitions in life.
The Feast of the Ascension marks one of these transitions in the Church. This feast demands that we ask the question, “Now what?” as the Lord is taken from our midst. The disciples must now discover the new ways that God is at work in their lives – especially now that Jesus is no longer with them.
But unlike other transitions, where people pass out of our lives and are separated from us by physical distances or death, Jesus leaves his disciples in a different way. By ascending into heaven he does not move out of our lives, but rather he comes into contact with all life. Through his ascension the Holy Spirit comes upon all people, and Jesus touches our lives in a new and mysterious way.
The mystery of the Ascension is closely connected to the Resurrection of Jesus. The early Church recognized that the saving work which God did through Jesus included both of these events. We say in the Creed, “…he rose from the dead…(and) ascended into heaven…” in the same breath – for these two events show that the Lord’s work is unlike anything else ever done before.
Through his Resurrection, death and sin no longer have power over Jesus Christ; his sacrifice on the Cross offers hope for the whole world. Through his Ascension, all people can know Jesus and the Spirit; taken up to heaven, the Lord is now present to all people regardless of time or space.
This feast reminds us that Christ does not abandon his people. The Lord is near, and we enjoy his presence even though we cannot touch him as the disciples did. We know that God walks with us, and we trust that the Lord will give us the strength to carry out the mission of the gospel through the transitions we face in this life.
This blog was originally published on May 5, 2013.