Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ascension Day

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Last night we had the great opportunity to take in a game at Citi field, home of the Mets. Growing up in New York with the Mets, I have a very tender spot in my heart for them. When they took the World Series in 1969, the jubilation and happiness seemed to have no end. My husband, who was born in Pittsburgh, has been a life long Pirates fan. Last night the Mets played the Pirates and the Pirates won, to the booing of the crowd and my husband's great joy. As we entered the field before the game, I was swept up by the long rising escalator, and ancient memories from the old Shea stadium and youthful moments washed over me. As we rose to the level of our seats, and entered the stadium area, to gaze on the field as plane after plane ascending over our heads, I couldn't help but wonder what ancient people might think of these experiences. And then the reverie ended as someone shouted, " play ball!"

Today we read Jesus final words to his disciples as he ascended into heaven. I have never been able to imagine this scene without a vision of a heavenly escalator coming down to take Jesus up. It is the technology that my mind gravitates to. And yet, it is easy to lose the real meaning of the moment - the charge to take care of the people of the earth and the promise that he would be with them always. We often get caught up in some reverie and forget about the work and the constancy of Jesus. There is still much to do, and Jesus promises to be with us in everything.

Today, I ask God to help us all to focus on the people around us, those in need, those broken by violence and poverty, by lack of dignity and lack of support. Jesus promises to be with us as we reach out to others around us. May we all keep on loving our neighbor knowing Jesus is among us.He ascended but did not disappear and keeps by our sides as we reach out into the world.

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