After the experience of the Pentecost, the disciples went out into the world— not swept upward to heaven, as they perhaps had hoped to be, but outward into the world. They set out on dusty roads to encounter and love the downcast, the poor, and the oppressed; to bring reconciliation and peace to the arrogant and the hard of heart; to speak hope to those disheartened and embittered by the drudgery of their circumstances; and to live as symbols and makers of peace in a strife-ridden world.
What I believe the Ascension is really all about is Jesus lifting us up with him, then summoning us to lift one another up, even and especially those we see as rivals. For only then do we all rise to the heavenly realm where together we find the true meaning of salvation.
“From the tragically different sacrifices of Cain and Abel to the intricate instructions for the Passover meal, to the Last Supper Jesus had with his friends, a supper we imitate right here every week, food is almost never just a matter of caloric intake in the Bible. It is laden with culture and history and ritual and rules. Because food matters.”
What I learned this week from my study of Dorcas and my encounter with Doreen is that resurrection is not a solo event. Instead, it is a shared, communal experience. It is often messy, much like childbirth. It is also mystical when expectations of what is supposed to happen give way to a chance encounter and then something unexpected and truly transcendent happens.