Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reflecting on the Ascension

Our texts for this week, our last Sunday in Eastertide where we will celebrate Christ's Ascension, are Luke 24:44-53 and Acts 1:1-11. I really like them from Eugene Peterson's The Message, so I will encourage you to read them in that version here.

Some music, art, and poetry to get you thinking about the meaning of the Ascension in our life of faith as we prepare to come together to hear these stories this week.

First, even though we as Baptists do not say the historic creeds of the church or hold them as definitive statements of faith, I think there is beauty in these historical statements--especially in a sung version of the Apostles' Creed by Rich Mullins that I have loved since high school (before I even knew creeds existed!). Click on the video below to listen to it (if you receive this by email, go to the webpage to click on it) and listen for the reference to the Ascension in the creed. Why do you think this event was important enough to make this historic statement of some of our core beliefs as Christians?

Two very different artistic renderings of the Ascension, by African artist Jesus Mafa and Spanish master Salvador Dali. What is your vision of this event?

And finally, I love, love, love this poem first published by Andrew King on his blog, How does this challenge you to think of how Ascension Day is a call to action?

(Luke 24: 44-53)

Begin in the brightly painted kitchens.
At the table set for supper and on the wide couches
where we watch TV. Begin while we are sorting
the laundry, writing out the shopping list.
And in front of our bathroom mirrors.

Begin in the barns among the warmth of animals
and the smells of grain and manure.
Begin in the growing fields, and in the flooded
pastures, and where the rains have not come
and the soil is cracked and hard.

Begin in the gleaming office towers, the shiny
shopping malls, the sweaty factory floors.
Begin on crumbling sidewalks and amid
the rumble of subways. At machines, at our desks,
by the coffee makers and computers.

Begin with the rich, the comfortable.
Begin with the poor, the desperate.
Among the successful, the self-assured.
Among the failed and the floundering.
In the glitter of the halls of power,
and in the cold and shadowed corners
of tragedy and defeat.

Begin on a day when the sun is brilliant;
on a day when the sky is gray.
In a time when economies are favorable;
in a time when all is rust;
at the moment when leaders are caring;
or amid indifference, hostility, despair.

Let us begin beginning again. And whether
we have begun and triumphed, or begun
and struggled and faltered, we will continue
our beginning, as we have from our beginning,
at Jerusalem,
which is wherever
and whoever we are

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