Today marks Ascension, an important church holy day commemorating Christ’s ascension into heaven after spending time among His disciples after the Resurrection.
I had some deep and profound thoughts to share about this. I thought of them as I lay in bed last night after staying up late to drink some whiskey, puff a cigar, and read Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. But I forgot them all upon waking.
But that’s okay, because the very idea of ascension is a powerful one worth thinking about.
Life these days seems centered on what is material, what is down low, and some might say the gutter. I won’t go that far. The physical world is sacred and important, but it is not it.
Since time immemorial, mankind has cast its eyes and souls upward toward something ineffable and beyond us. It’s the last mystery–the purpose of life and what happens after–that none of us will ever know until we die. And it drives us nuts.
Some have faith in something better. Some despair. Some become hedonists, figuring that if this is it, might as well live it up. But most of us at least think about it.
Or do we? When you wake up, do you pray or ponder creation, or do you immediately check your smartphone?
What does this have to do with Jesus Christ ascending into Heaven?
It’s not good to ignore the travails of everyday life or the horror of current events. It’s similarly not good to ignore the fact that things can be better and that they start with us and how we behave and comport ourselves and think.
We can all ascend in some way, upwards and onwards. It’s this attitude that’s gotten humankind to some pretty impressive places.
Have we forgotten it in total? Of course not. But it can feel like that sometimes, and I can’t fault anyone for thinking that all is lost, doom and gloom, and so on.
Christians believe that Christ had already won, and we need to hold on until the return. Other traditions exist of course, including those of a non-religious bent.
That’s great. The important thing is the belief that we can rise above who we were before and come out better for it.
Man is not God, but we can sure listen to His teachings. And they don’t start with trying to better other people or society at large. The start with trying to better yourself.
A little humility and a little forgiveness go a long way.