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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Now?

The Ascension
By Vassil (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"What now?"--I can imagine that is what the disciples were saying to themselves and to one another following the ascension.  Despite the words of Jesus which clearly alluded to the impending ascension, they were caught of guard.  They weren't ready for this; it is not what they had planned or anticipated.

We find ourselves caught of guard by situations in life sometimes, don't we? We thought we had it all planned out, and then the boat flips on us. A solid job turns tenuous. Plans based on a seemingly predictable real estate market are no longer valid because that market has turned. A life built upon a given faith tradition must be adjusted because that tradition has changed course.  Maybe all of these things hit at once, and we are left staring upward, mouths agape, asking "what now?"

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.~John 16:7

Back in medieval times when churches had Holy Ghost holes, a statue of Jesus was actually hauled up through this hole in the church ceiling during the Ascension Day mass.  It was a visual experience of Jesus' departure from this Earth.  I wonder what the effect was.  Did it bring to mind the reality of the transition in the lives of the followers of Jesus?  Did people just worry that the ropes might break? It's hard to say, but it's probably not too difficult to identify with the feelings that the eye witnesses to the Ascension must have had.

A Holy Ghost Hole in a Church Ceiling
By Wolfgang Sauber (Own work) [GFDL (
 or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (]
Of course as soon as Pentecost arrived, those same Medieval-era parishioners had the experience of something else passing through that Holy Ghost hole: a shower of red rose petals.  Petals streamed down upon the congregation to illustrate the coming of the Holy Ghost as Advocate and Comforter on the Day of Pentecost.

At times in course of our own lives, we may feel bewildered, desolate, afraid, even abandoned -- as the disciples may have felt following the ascension, but we may rest assured that we have been gifted with the companionship of the Holy Spirit and the assurance that God is in control and has great plans for us, and that all is grace. 

Pax Christi dear ones,

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