Rachel Held Evans – An Open Letter to Jesus on this Whole Ascension Business

rachel-held-evans

Dear Jesus, 

We weren’t ready.  

Surely you could have seen that as you floated into the sky, your disciples standing beneath your feet with craned necks, slacked mouths, a million questions, and no clue what to do next. I bet they totally asked those angels which one of them would be greatest in the Kingdom, and Luke just left that part out because, oh my gosh, not again; how embarrassing. 

And while we’re on it, what’s with the floating thing? After all the eating and drinking and healing and laughing and crying, it just doesn’t seem like your style—floating. I like you better with your feet on the ground. 

I’ll be honest, Jesus, Ascension Day brings up some abandonment issues for me. I know you promised we wouldn’t be alone, that you would send a Helper and Advocate, full of power and truth and ready to guide, but let’s face it: the fire of the Spirit is the wild kind. One moment I sense that it’s blazing like the burning bush, the next it’s like it’s out with a poof. I still haven’t figured it out. I still haven’t been able to pin it down. 

I can’t help but think that if you’d stayed a little longer, we might have avoided the Crusades.  Or the Great Schism. Or that time we used the Bible to justify slavery and invoked “Manifest Destiny” to slaughter women and children.  We’ve made a mess of things, Jesus, often in your name. We could use a little micromanaging. 

And yet, as always, you insist on using people before they’re ready, before they’ve got it all figured out—like Abraham, Esther, Moses, Mary Magdalene, Peter, Paul, Martin, and Maya.  Your people, like all people, mess up. Your people, like all people, learn as they go. 

You’re sort of inefficient, Jesus—like a winding river etching out a canyon, like a mother lingering over a lullaby, like art, like grace. You do things on your own time. 

And so here we are,  charged with being your hands in the world. Your eyes. Your laughter. Your tears. Your healing. Your teaching.  Your feet on the ground.   

As another blogger put it: “The absence of Jesus makes room for the possibility of his presence through his people.” 

I don’t know, Jesus.  I guess I just can’t get over how miraculous and infuriating and profound and ridiculous it is that you trust us, that the God of the universe allows sinners to do His work. It’s quite an unconventional plan. There are days when I’m convinced it’s going to fail.  

But we won’t know until we try, right?

So I suppose that on Ascension Day, I best quit standing here staring at the bottoms of your feet, Jesus, and instead get to work—feeding, fellowshipping, healing, teaching, loving, hosting, sharing, breaking bread and pouring wine. 

One day at a time. 

Ready or not. 

Help me, okay?

Love,

Rachel

* * *

NOTE: THis year, Rachel Held Evans is blogging weekly around the lectionary. This is based on the text from Acts 1:6-14, for the Sunday following the Ascension. Source HERE.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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