EXERCISE 30: Ultimate Meaning – Ascension
The Ascension is one of those stories in the New Testament that can hardly be taken literally: where is the “heaven” “up there” to which Jesus is said to be taken? It worked when one’s world-view was that of the “hamburger universe”: the earth sandwiched between the dome of the sky and the water world below. Jesus could plausibly ascend up to the heavenly realm above.
We know differently; the metaphor no longer conveys the meaning we need. What image could we use to illustrate our eventual opening to the ultimate meaning of our human existence? This lies at the heart of the Christian belief about human existence: when our life on earth is over, we will find ourselves within the love of God, whatever that means in detail. As St Paul said, we see things “through a glass, darkly,” but we are promised that we will experience the Divine face to face.
“Ascension,” then, celebrates our ultimate reunion with the very Ground of Being, the fulfilment of our deepest longings.
Read Acts 1: 4-9 and see if you can enter the story… What do you experience? What do you feel? What sense do you make of the event? What are your current views of your existence after your death?
Journal your experience