02 June 2011

ascending within

Today is the Ascension of the Lord. In the book of Acts, it is pictured this way. Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus is speaking with the apostles, telling them to remain in Jerusalem until they are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Here is chapter 1, verse 9: “When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”

The ancients commonly perceived the cosmos as a “three story” universe: the heavens on top, our world in the middle, and the underworld down below. Today, thanks to quantum physics, we don’t perceive the cosmos—or ourselves—the same way. We might tell that story as Jesus as becoming interwoven with our space and time. Perhaps the resurrection body has access to dimensions that our bodies do not!

A few years ago, Nazarene professor Andy Johnson speculated that since “our very flesh is constantly interchanging elements with the rest of the material universe…Luke’s portrait of the body of the risen Lord stretches our own theological imagination, because…it would force us to make the theological claim that, in raising the entirety of the body of Jesus, God has begun the redemption of all aspects of space and all aspects of time, both past and future. This is because the stuff of Jesus’ body shared a history with the rest of the stuff of the old order, a history stretching back to the Big Bang. It also has a future that stretches into our own present in the bread and wine of the eucharist, our own anticipation of the messianic banquet of God's consummated reign.”

That’s a truly cosmic body and blood of the Lord!

Have an elevated Ascension Day!

(The quote is from Andy Johnson’s article, “Our God Reigns: The Body of the Risen Lord in Luke 24,” Word and World 22:2)

1 comment:

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