In 1958, Salvador Dali completed a painting called The Ascension of Christ. In the center of the painting, closest to the viewer, are the bottoms of Jesus’s feet. Nothing visible supports the figure of Christ. Above him are suggestions of spirit, cloud, bird, light, a sunflower’s center, or the structure of an atom, or the iris of an eye. (You can click here if you’d like to see it: (You can click here if you’d like to see it) The painting is the artist’s interpretation of a scripture we read and and an event we celebrate this Sunday.
Acts 1:6-14 tells the story of the conclusion of Jesus’s life on earth in human form. Forty days after God raised Jesus from the dead, after they had been visited several times by the risen Christ, the disciples witnessed a departure that left them perplexed and astonished. The text says Jesus “was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.” We also, both in our reading and our living, might find ourselves perplexed. What’s going on? Has Jesus left us? Is there something more we should be expecting? How do we go on from here? These questions will be explored in April’s sermon, “Empty Tomb, Empty Sky.”
The Christian celebration of Ascension Sunday this weekend stands side by side with our nation’s effort to memorialize, on Monday, all Americans who have died in service to their country. May God open our eyes and hearts to deeper understandings of our faith as we worship, reflect, and practice generosity in the days to come.
See you at church!