Okay, a week ago, I don't know if I was that excited about celebrating the Ascension. In theory, I would have defined it as a good thing - Jesus going up to Heaven can't be all that bad. But in reality, I really had never given it a second thought.
As I planned our Gathering music, I looked to songs that had themes of praise and exultation - "God on high" and that kind of thing - and I think that was on the mark.
But as I dug deeper, I began to see the beauty of the Ascension,
the reminder that Jesus didn't die a second time.
He's still living,
still able to hear our prayers,
still waiting for us on the other side.
That changed everything.
At tonight's Gathering, a woman shared the story of her near-death experience. I've known this woman for a while. She's smart and sensible. She's not one for exaggeration. But she told this phenomenal, beautiful story about coming close to death, and feeling surrounded by the full and all-encompassing love of God. I could retell all her words, and I could never come close to truly capturing the feeling of love, acceptance, and grace that was shining in her eyes as she told her story.
That's the Ascension.
... God living ...
... loving us now ...
.... waiting to receive us home ...
So that's what we celebrated tonight...
The Ascension stained glass window at St. John's York Mills.