RCL Year C, Easter 7
Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 97, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, and 20-21,
Saint John 17:20-26
At the Church of the Ascension in Chicago, on Ascension Day, the server at the Eucharist, who was the senior warden, told the rector, just before the service, that Jesus did not in truth bodily ascend into heaven under his own power; rather, he walked away from his disciples; it was more like, the senior warden said, “the bear went over the mountain.” I heard this story in about 1986 from a man who grew up in the parish and who had become a priest.
And I tell you, on the Sunday after Ascension Day, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Scranton, that we have a lot of freedoms, but we do not have the freedom to pick and choose among the miracles, as that senior warden seemed to do. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” as the English sometimes say.
For the Scriptures are all of a piece, I believe. They are unified in the proposition that there is one God, and that the one God made heaven and earth. And if God made heaven and earth, God can do just about anything, including sending his only-begotten son, who was born, who was killed, who rose again, and who ascended into heaven.
Christian belief is not an accident. We do not fall into it as if we had slipped on black ice. At some point in our lives, we decide to believe or not to believe. Anything and everything around us can lead us to God. For God made everything that is, and everything bears God’s stamp. And, finally, believing in God, is the most important decision we can make.