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Friday, May 22, 2009
God Flies: Part 2.
Absurd: wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate....

What difference does "The Ascension" make. I keep thinking about it. Noone ever really talks about it? My hunch is that it will not be mentioned at your Church this Sunday and yet you probably heard a lot about the resurrection 40 days ago on Easter Sunday.  Why not? 

Does it go too far for us? Human beings "flying"???  It's absurder. We will readily talk about Jesus being born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit. (absurd) We will wax eloquent about unbelievable miracles like walking on water. (absurd) We have no problem staking our very life and faith on Jesus actually rising from the dead, as in "rigor mortis." (absurd) We will readily talk about him walking through walls and suddenly appearing out of nowhere. (absurd) So why don't we talk about him flying up to Heaven? Is it beyond absurd? as in "absurder!"

I would suspect, in the eyes of a child, this would be the most amazing thing of all-- a person lifting-off and flying!  I mean, what kid doesn't want to fly? 

But us adults-- we don't make much of it do we? It's absolutely absurd!

Most popular tourist site in Washington DC? US Capitol?? no. National Air & Space Museum. yes. Why-- Human beings are more enthralled, amazed and taken away by the idea of flying, than any other phenomenon.

Could it be that the force of "gravity" exceeds the force of "faith?" It's true isn't it, "What goes up. . . . . . . must come down." But what if it's just the opposite? "What comes down. . . . . . . must go up."

I call it the gravity of Heaven. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." Heaven's gravity is the supernatural force pulling humility up into true humanity. There are a million implications. One of them: one day we will have the capacity to fly. It's Absurd!

Think about that a bit and give me your thoughts.

Note: this isn't headed toward 19th century Rapture theology-- I promise. ;-)

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posted by John David Walt | at 5/22/2009 09:27:00 PM



Blogger Rahel said...

Somewhere in the last weeks in one of my dreams I flew :-) It was very cool! :-)

10:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marcus G said...

JD -
You know I love you dearly, and that I respect wildly everything you write...

But in the best spirit of theological dialectic, are you sure you aren't confusing Jesus with R Kelly?

10:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Tom 1st said...

I've wondered before if there isn't more to the ascension than what is presented in churches - which is nothing at all. I've never heard a sermon on the ascension - nor have I ever read a theology book that's addressed the event.

Off the top of my head, I would suspect the ascension is closely tied with NT Pneumatology. That is, that the ascension must occur in preparation for Acts 2 (and really the rest of Christian history).

However, that is about as deep as I've ever thought about it...unfortunately.

5:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Omar said...

Isn't the Ascension about the promise of "I go to prepare a place for you"? And isn't that about the promise of being with the Father?

Isn't the Ascension about Christ "going" so he can "send" the Holy Spirit, so then we can "go" into all the world = mercy & justice in Jesus name.

So we go into the world, with the promise & hope of Christ's return to consumate the work on the Cross & end all injustice.

But my money is on more churches talking about Memorial Day than the Ascension, somehow drawing a conclusion that the work of a B52 brings about liberation. But which one really has the bigger impact on "freedom" for humanity?

3:54 AM EDT  
Blogger JAy. said...

Personally, I don't find the idea of the Ascension any more absurd than the idea of Pentacost or the Transfuguration (to pull a couple NT examples).

I have always linked the Ascension to Elijah. Only because Jesus was also fully God, he didn't need the heavenly flaming chariot. When his time came, he was able to ascend on his own.

Is it absurd? Maybe a little. But doesn't the Bible tell us that our faith will be deemed foolish by others? And if we are to have the faith of a child, should we care what others have to say.

However, I also would not consider the Ascension as "flying". To me, flying implies translocation in the horizontal plane (flying from Kentucky to Houston, say). The Ascension implies translocation in a vertical plane. Calling it "flying" makes it fairly base.

And I don't expect God to "lift me up" to make me fly. It is more to bring me "up" into his reality (a.k.a. heaven). What motive method I will use in heaven is something about which I will not bother to ponder at this time. Don't think that is the most exciting part of heaven after all.

1:59 PM EDT  
Blogger sandra r. said...

Are we talking about "flying" in the literal sense, or referring to it as in the process of glorification? Either way, of course it's absurd because it blows our feeble minds!

There were two songs that came to my mind in the midst of processing all of this:
The first was the chorus of "Midnight Cry":
When Jesus steps out
On a cloud to call his children
And the dead in Christ shall rise
To meet him in the air (we will meet him)
And then those that remain
Shall be changed (shall be changed forever), yeah
At the midnight cry (At the midnight cry)
We'll be goin' home.
I always remember listening to this song thinking it was all so crazy!! Sometimes I've asked myself, do I really believe it?!

That song led me to meditate a bit on these Scriptural contexts:
Paul writes about the Lord's coming and us "flying"...
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
Paul later writes about our glorified bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52,
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

Yes, it's an absurd, crazy thought that we will "meet the Lord in the air"! But, we're going to be with Him forever!

The other song I was reminded of might be the more obvious:
"I'll Fly Away"...
Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away.
I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away...
(ahem... sorry I couldn't resist that one...)

So, what difference does the Ascension make? I still hold to my first answer - it encourages the saints in an incredible way...
1 Thessalonians 4:18, "Therefore encourage each other with these words."

3:00 AM EDT  

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