quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, May 09, 2013

partaking and not partaking

It is not surprising that a secularly minded culture might not grasp the importance of Ascension Day. Matters raised on this Feast are always beyond reason as is the custom. Even the disciples are chided by Jesus for their "unbelief and hardness of heart" because they did not believe those who had seen Jesus when they told them he was risen from the dead.

When, annually, the Feast of the Ascension is downplayed within Christianity something else is at work. Understandably, some have moved the feast to Sunday so that those who do not come on the Feast day itself might still receive its benefits. On the other hand even Sundays might not help with some.

In my own Lutheran faith tradition each year, around Ascension the bureaucracy buzzes with distractions. Whether intentionally or not, the effect or message seems to be the same, don't put too much attention on the Ascension. I am still looking at church history and the different hymnals to try and figure this one out. There is something about Ascension that makes us nervous.

In the Biblical narrative and the life of Jesus the importance of this day is quite obvious. There is actually much going on in this part of God's plan of salvation that tells us about Jesus, the Holy Trinity and the life of the Church after Jesus' departure.

Each year I am surprised by our general (lack of) reaction to the Feast of the Ascension. And each year I try to figure out our reticence. Then I come to the Proper Preface where the chant continues, "...who after his resurrection appeared openly to all his disciples and in their sight was taken up to heaven that he might make us partakers of his divine nature." Here I am surprised again. Surprised that the Lord's work is not hindered by Lutheran reticence as it was not hindered by the unbelief and hardness of heart of his own disciples. Jesus' ascension in the body has something to do with us. This is a great time to partake of the blessed Eucharist. I am not surprised by those with faith in reason. On Ascension Day, I am surprised by non-partaking people of faith.