For Now

By Emily Hylden

Feast of the Ascension

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 28:16-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, but they doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Meditation

We live in a strange moment. I don’t mean a post-pandemic (if it is that!) world, or the current deep division of American politics, or sky-rocketing inflation; I mean the moment between when God in Jesus Christ has ascended from our physical world, before he comes again as he promises he will do. In the gospel he speaks of the “end of the age”; in the Old Testament (Dan. 7:9-14), the apocalyptic author testifies that the beasts will remain “for a season and a time”; and in the epistle (Heb. 2:5-18), “for a little while” God re-orders created beings in ways the author clearly understands not to be permanent or final. All this goes to show that there is a tension in “the way things ought to be” for now — however long “now” might be — and how it is that God will bring all to be settled in the end.

So while this is a great feast day, I wonder if it is, too, a day to recognize and acknowledge the in-between time in which we live, the restlessness which this life of “already and not yet” can kindle in our hearts, the tension that we journey through as we await the Lord’s return. I wonder what gifts might await us in the acceptance of this condition, and how we might view our own responses, reactions, and trials in a different light.

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

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