I don't much like the days and weeks after Christmas. Christmas takes so long to get here, with preparations and anticipation building from mid-November on. And then, sometime during the day of December 25, it all collapses.
At some point I picked up the idea that wiser Christians ask fewer questions. That somehow they pick up “the answers” somewhere along the way. More mature Christians could always find The Answer in the Bible, no matter how remote the question might be. And, speaking of questions, that’s one thing real Christians wouldn’t have. Or at least, I wouldn’t know it if they did.
I was talking with a young woman who had left our church a few years earlier and remembered that she had celebrated her birthday recently. “Happy Birthday!” I said, but she seemed confused. I realized I had crossed that invisible line that divides friends from mere acquaintances. Only your good friends know when your birthday is coming. So how did I know the date? There was no reason.
The preacher faces several challenges in these Ascension texts. How can we present Jesus’ departure from the earth as an occasion for not sorrow but celebration? How to translate the kingship and hierarchical language into imagery that speaks to a world no longer governed by kings and monarchs?
Feminist biblical scholars note a third challenge: How can we counter Luke-Acts' use of the Ascension to exert a degree of social control?