Monday, May 25, 2009

Ascension

Some last thoughts on Ascension -- my essay on Ascension is here. As I was preaching the sermon I focused on God breaking down the barriers between us and the Holy. Jesus prays that we may be one as he and the Father are one. Often this is used as a motivator for Christian unity but I think it is more in the line of all the times God broke through all the barriers we have erected between ourselves and the One who created all things. In both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Testament, God continually pursues this relationship. From the time of our separation upon leaving the garden of Eden, there has been this endless opening of doors to return to that easy one-ness with God. From Jesus' baptism and the opening of the heavens with the voice saying "you are my beloved" to the Transfiguration, to the cross and the veil of the Temple torn in two from top to bottom, to the Ascension - the message is -- I will tear down every barrier between you and Me. Barriers we have created by what we have done and not done, barriers created by human systems - even the church, whatever separates us - God is tearing down and reaching out. Can we let down our barriers to this union?

UPDATE:
Some thoughts from the mystics

And God said to the soul:
I desired you before the world began.
I desire you now
As you desire me
And where the desires of two come together
There love is perfected."

-Mechtild of Magdeburg 1207-1297
(trans.by Oliver Davies)


How God comes to the soul:
“I descend on my love
As dew on a flower."
-Mechtild of Magdeburg
(trans. by Oliver Davies)


There the soul dwells –
like the fish in the sea
and the sea in the fish.

-Catherine of Siena

3 comments:

Laurie Gudim and Rosean Amaral said...

YES!! I like this SO much better than the message of Christian unity -- not because I don't want to be in unity, but because that message can keep us bound by our all-too-human ways of staying out of God's wind and fire. We think, "well, we can't go TOO far down this new trail because we'll leave the rest of Christiandom behind. Everything in its season. We can wait." Instead of thinking, "here is where God wants me to stand and this is what God wants me to say."

The rest of Christiandom is ALREADY one with me. I don't have to do a thing about that.

Thanks for this!!

Lindy said...

You are so right, Ann. I am weary of this verse being used to justify uniformity and abuse in the name of religion.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I like your idea of God breaking down the barriers throughout the history of God's relationship with God's people. If we are one with God - truly one - we will be one with each other.

And, Lindy, you're right. It's not about conformity.