Written by: Paul Lickteig
You want miraculous?
I think about the ascension
and the possibility of a person flying up into space
leaving behind his slack jawed followers
to wonder over what had just occurred.
And the men in white ask them
why they are just standing there?
They say that Jesus would return
again in the same way that he left.
Think about it.
Some day, you are out in your yard staring up into the sky
and you can barely make out over the treeline
someone flying towards you.
Kind of, what…?
Yeah…maybe for our post-modern sensibility.
Maybe even for the enlightenment,
or medieval times
or even the ancient world.
Even in the days of miracles it might have been hard to believe this.
That makes me think that the implausibility of it all is kind of the point.
Jesus will come again, and when he does, it will be in a big way.
In the meantime, why do you stand there looking at the sky??
Are you waiting for something wondrous to come from up there?
Are you waiting for some obvious miracle to make your life something more than it is?
Are you so busy waiting for something or someone to move you
that you have forgotten what we have already been given?
Maybe we are supposed to get busy living.
Because the miracle of the ascending Christ is not where the story wants me to stop and stare.
Its where the story wants me to start living.
We have an experience of Christ that we get to share with others.
Where I go in prayer?
Jesus was standing there, and suddenly he was gone.
Like so many brave and brilliant people I have known and loved.
Like so many mentors, teachers, and friends…
people who worked miracles of love to save me.
I find myself waiting for the next person,
the next source of grace
that will offer me insight into this mystery of life,
this graced existence.
Boom. Like that. There He is.
Present in someone I never expected.
The thing is, I never know when I will meet Him.
I never know until I have a conversation or experience an event
and it hits me…
I am face to face with another person
manifesting the Spirit of God in the flesh
and I am manifesting the Spirit of God in return.
That is how Christ enters my life.
It is not on a cloud in fanfare with trumpet blasts.
It is in the moments of the every day where I find myself moved
beyond the depths of my own understanding of love.
The second coming might have another meaning.
Its just that I am not so much concerned at this point in my life
with making literal assertions, logical proofs for a flying Jesus.
I am more interested in learning to live in the Spirit that He gave us.
I am interested in acknowledging that this man
this human being that we call “Son of God,”
a person we believe was the sheer embodiment of Godliness
is always coming again into our lives…and it happens in ways we do not expect.
The problem is that I do not notice Him when I am staring at the sky
waiting for Him to return in a particular way.
But when I am busy living in the Spirit He sent me,
I find Him embodied in the lives of the people I meet.
I will say this again and again…
I find it more amazing that when we truly believe in Him
we are able somehow to love others without thought of self.
It is in these moments that Christ comes again.
We can become people who, rather than simply saying
“I will do my best to help myself and not hurt others.”
We say something that defies logic
and the categories for worldly success.
“I will do my best to help others and not count my selfish desires
for money, or wealth, or fame,
or self-promotion, or the continuation of my particular genetic code
as the most important thing.”
There are thousands of examples of people
who have given of themselves in the Spirit of Christ.
Countless others have silently passed through the years as nameless entities
unremembered by few, except for the people they helped.
This is what I want to be able to strive for.
Not anonymous Christianity,
but Christianity that does not leave me seeking
recognition and accolades.
This is what I think that Ignatius intended in the First Principle and foundation.
All that we have been given is offered to us with the hope of serving God.
All that happens to us is irrelevant save for the way it helps us do God’s will.
We are learning to live our lives with the care of the other always in our mind.
It is not a care of allowance, but of abundant self-giving.
So we do not want a health, or sickness, or a long life, or a short one…
but only that which allows for the will of our God, the one who saves,
to work in the lives of the people that we meet.
This is miraculous.
“The Ascension” a 3D image published in 1897 by Underwood and Underwood. Used under creative commons from Frank DeFreita