It’s funny how some things make you go all slack jawed.
Hot air balloons still do that for me.
Reminds me of one Sunday a few years ago when one popped during the 8 o’clock liturgy.
The man fell a thousand feet and landed in a tree just down McDuffie street. He had a broken leg and some scratches. It was an exciting morning! A miracle of sorts.
I was riding my bicycle early one morning last week down the east west connector when a hot air balloon slowly announced its presence and drifted on by.
I about wrecked my bicycle!
Or, how about when we have one of those balloon festivals and the early morning sky is full of a mass ascension, I get beside myself with wonder.
The Ascension is like that for some people, the miraculously inclined, the theologically and mystically sensitive: the idea of human flesh ascending into the divine communion of the holy Trinity just makes some of us drool and make funny noises.
But for many, it’s a curious thing that just doesn’t really make much sense.
You can see them looking up…
(looking up, looking, scratching head)
“Well…there he goes.”
“You say he’s leaving again and coming back again and in the meantime, he is still really here in the Spirit?”
“Well… I’m sure that makes sense to somebody…So how about them Tigers?”
A day of levity when Satan loses his gravity.
Reminds me of a joke.
A man was sky diving, jumped out of the plane and his parachute didn’t open, and his emergency chute didn’t work either.
So he was falling, a precipitous descent, watching the ground rise up very quickly wondering what he would do.
As he was falling he saw another man rising up very quickly, as they passed by each other he yelled out, “Do you know anything about parachutes?” The other man said, “No, do you know anything about gas ovens?”
It is a day of tremendous importance and meaning to the Church that is at the same time underwhelming and forgettable to most.
Human nature lifted up, human flesh ascending, the creaturely in intimate divine communion with the Creator.
The rapture of God.
So what now? Life is long and too short, and awe and wonder are always in decreasing supply in the face of the repetitive, daily, ordinary, boredom and trauma of life.
Is Ascension just another moment of distraction? Just another bit of sound bite entertainment?
Or is the Ascension the thing that knocks us off our bikes into a deeper life?
Jesus descended to hell to ascend.
Rock bottom, that’s what the addiction recovery folks call it.
That low place where the ascension grabs our hearts and lifts.
We forsake terror and terrorism and take up rapture and rapturism.
The opposite of a terrorist is a rapturist.
The children of God. Life in the Spirit. The followers of Jesus. We are held in rapt attention.
It means we have the freedom to fail and to fall and to be lifted up once again. It means we defy gravity, the graveness of a life that is chained down by the stupidity of being so serious.
The freedom of levity in the face of a precipitous descent, of our balloons popping and the hard ground rapidly rising to meet us.
The Ascension. The levity of God beckons us to rise up.
Lift up your hearts!