Happy Feast of the Ascension of our Lord! This is a church liturgical celebration that often gets lost because it takes place during the week, but also because people sometimes don’t understand why it is important. The feast is profound because it brings together a number of different story lines in the Gospel, culminating in the moment when Jesus leaves the disciples and empowers them to do the work of the Kingdom. I won’t go into all of it here, except to mention that in the Ascension, Jesus completes the circle of the marriage of heaven and earth.
Christians do not follow a God who sits in heaven waiting for us to get our acts together and come to him. We follow a God who loves us and comes to seek us! Jesus tells us that God is like a shepherd searching for his lost sheep. Jesus is the primary way God comes to seek us. Far more than a prophet or wise man, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, become human. Through his life, death and resurrection, he redeems and re-founds human nature. Then, in the Ascension, he takes human nature into God. Because of Jesus, we will forever be united to God at the deepest level of our being!
Our Life Story in God’s Great Story
If that sounds abstract, let me say this: the story that you live is part of God’s story. Your story is important, and part of a vast story where God is working his peace, love and justice to build the Kingdom of God. You are a part of that, and God wants you to grow in faith, love and maturity. God wants you to come to know him and follow him in all aspects of your life. There is no part too grand or too humble. God is a part of it all.
Our call is to grow in faith, love and hope daily. How do we do that? Through daily practices. Over the next few posts, I am going to be sharing with you some of the daily practices that have helped me and others grow in their faith. Today, I want to share with you the practice of remembering that your life story is part of a bigger story.
Practice: Reflecting on Your Story
Knowing their ancestors’ story was so important to Jesus’ Jewish community, just as it is important for us to REMEMBER where we come from. Think through how your life story has led you to where you find yourself this morning. Who do you share life with right now? What about the stories of your parents and how their life story led to your life story? How about your grandparents and their parents? Where did they come from, and what led through them to your life story?
Now, consider the bigger story in which you participate, the story of Canada. You are part of that story, with 30 million other people. Millions of others in this land have lived, loved and died, and have made room for you. Reflect on how you experience being a part of that story.
Expanding the Story
After that, reflect on how you take part in a much bigger story called the Christian church. This church started with Jesus before his Ascension giving his small group of disciples a command to go out and preach the gospel. Today there are 2.5 billion Christians. Reflect on how you experience being a part of that story.
And of course, this is part of a much bigger, cosmic story that dates back 13.8 billion years, when the Big Bang exploded and over billions of years poured out billions of billions of stars, galaxies and planets in the creation of all things. And now you are here, reading this post.
You are a part of all these stories, and God does not lose your story in all of those bigger stories. Your life story is important to him. You are important, most of all because God loves you personally. How do you experience this truth?