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by Meg Jenista
I didn’t grow up in a tradition that celebrated Ascension as a particularly important part of the Jesus story. But we know from Scripture that Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples after his resurrection in a glorified human body, just like the one you and I will someday be issued. While we don’t know the exact nature of this body, we do know that it was in this same glorified, resurrection body that Christ ascended into heaven. Which means that – get this — it’s not just that Jesus was once, a long time ago human while living on earth. It means that, to this day, we have a God in heaven who can wiggle his toes, scratch his nose and crack his knuckles.
More importantly, we have a God in heaven who continues to commiserate with our weakness. He cares about our humanity because of his own. Our common humanity makes him more than just chosen by God and able to forgive our sin and aid our weakness. Our common humanity makes Christ “our own flesh in heaven” as the Heidelberg Catechism puts it.
Now, this is an interesting thought. An idea to roll around in your heads for awhile. A catalyst for the use of our holy imaginations. We have a God who is able to sympathize with our weakness because he, himself, has been weak. This portrait of Jesus doesn’t get hung up in our churches very often. We are so afraid of taking away from Christ’s sinlessness that we forget to sketch him out in all his human detail. What might it do for our sense of God’s presence and care over our lives if we recognized that:
* When we begin our 30-minute conversations with the snooze button in the morning, we have a God who says, “ugh, I remember that.” He was tired as we are tired.
* When we have to stand up and speak in front of a congregation and there’s a giant knot formed in our stomachs, we have a God who can say, “I remember this one time in front of the Sanhedrin. . .”
* When we have one of those embarrassing trip-over-my-own-feet-for-no-apparent-reason moments, we have a God who can smile ruefully and say, “oh, yeah, I’ve been there.” Could it be that the God of the universe, while kicking around on earth was even klutzy, as we are human and klutzy?
“We don’t have a high priest who is out of touch with our reality.” Today, because of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven, we have a strong and perfect plea. A great high priest whose name is love who ever lives and pleads for us. Thanks be to God.
Meg Jenista is the pastor of DC Christian Reformed Church in Washington, DC.