The Ascension of Jesus
This week we hear about the Ascension of Jesus. Can you imagine what a spectacular sight it was? Exactly as promised, Jesus ascended into heaven. The scriptures were fulfilled.
In Luke’s account of the Ascension, Jesus chooses to leave from Bethany. It would have been a beloved place of memory for Jesus. It was here that he found hospitality in the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It was also here he raised Lazarus from the dead and where here he received the gift of a woman’s anointing shortly before his death. Bethany had been a place of blessing for Jesus. And so, from this place of blessing, Jesus leaves, offering a blessing as he goes. While he was blessing them, Luke tells us, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.
As Jan Richardson, author of the Painted Prayerbook puts it, “Joyful, sorrowful, bittersweet; planned or unexpected; welcomed or resisted or grieved: no matter how a leave-taking happens, it always brings an invitation, and it makes a space for the Spirit to come.”
As we each navigate the leave-takings in our own lives, how do we keep our eyes open for the invitations they hold? What blessings could they offer us, and what blessings might they invite?