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Thursday, 2 June 2011

absence or ascension?

As today is Ascension Day, I'm reminded that I was meant to post about those Tom Wright lectures. Ah. Time has hurtled away from me recently, and everything is getting squeezed in (and sometimes out). What's the link? Wright made a point about the ascension that I found thought provoking. He said that often we shrink the idea merely to 'Jesus going back to heaven'.  It implies a sense of absence. But, he said, Jesus' ascension was about him taking his rightful place as king.

Whatever you may think about this, do you think it's true? That we can fall into the trap of making 'Ascension Day' about when Jesus 'went back to heaven' in the sense of leaving rather than taking up his rightful position as King?  

Is it a very human thing, I wonder, when someone 'leaves' us, to think not about where they are going and why - but the fact they will be absent from us? Do we think of Jesus as absenting himself from us, rather than 'coming' in a new way, whereby, as Wright puts it, heaven and earth are joined for ever? And of course Jesus' ascension preceded the pouring out of the Holy Spirit - indeed he himself said his 'going away' was necessary in order for this to happen. Do we think of the ascension merely as Jesus going up and away, rather than establishing his 'sovereign rule' and pouring out the Spirit (which is hardly an absence)?
Rembrandt - The Ascension

Please note this is my summary and related thoughts - I'm not claiming to speak for Tom Wright!

1 comment:

T.C. said...

Jesus is most definately not absent! The more you seek his prescence through the Holy Spirit and ask for it in your day to day life, it is very apparent!

That doesn't mean everythings all pink and fluffy, we will all still have really hard times, but we know we can approach them with the Holy Spirit within us and look forward to the day when we can meet our God and Jesus as King!

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster