The Ascension (2017.05.28)
May 29th, 2017 | John Chandler
Mason Parva brings us a message about Jesus’ ascension to heaven and how we may have gotten it wrong concerning heavens relationship with earth.
- “Part of the difficulty that we have is not in what we are saying about Jesus, but in the mental furniture that we have about heaven and earth. Because we assume — our culture being so steeped still in Greek thought, rather than Jewish thought — we assume that heaven and earth are and are completely ontologically disparate — that they are just different kinds of thing, place, space, whatever. So that that which is normal on earth, e.g. physicality, would be totally abnormal — indeed unthinkable — in heaven. It’s a failure of imagination; our imagination has been stuck in this Western world view that says heaven into earth won’t go and earth into heaven shouldn’t, can’t, and never will go. And the entire Biblical world view, from Genesis to Revelation, is predicated on the assumption that heaven and earth are the overlapping and interlocking spheres of God’s good creation.
…Heaven and earth were made for one another. Heaven is present to us — when we pray, when we read Scripture, when we share in the sacraments, when we minister to the poor in Jesus’ name. We are right on the edge of heaven, looking into it acting into it, receiving from it.”
– N.T. Wright, Lecture on Acts
- “We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God. There is no evil in anything created by God, nor can anything of His become an obstacle to our union with Him. The obstacle is in our “self,” that is to say in the tenacious need to maintain our separate, external, egotistical will.
It is when we refer all things to this outward and false “self” that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God. It is then the false self that is our god, and we love everything for the sake of this self. We use all things, so to speak, for the worship of this idol which is our imaginary self.
In doing so we pervert and corrupt things, or rather we turn our relationship to them into a corrupt and sinful relationship. We do not thereby make them evil, but we use them to increase our attachment to our illusory self.
…The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls. In His love we possess all things and enjoy fruition of them, finding Him in them all. And thus as we go about the world, everything we meet and everything we see and hear and touch, far from defiling, purifies us and plants in us something more of contemplation and of heaven.”
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation