Grace and peace to you …
Thursday was Ascension Day. Ascension Day takes place 40 days after the day of Resurrection. As you know almost everything in the Bible takes 40 days or 40 years. This is because 40 is more than a number – it is a symbol. It is a symbol of new life being born after a full pregnancy because as you know a pregnancy that reaches full term is exactly 40 weeks.
Ascension Day is therefore the celebration of new life – the new life that comes from knowing that Jesus reigns on high. That Jesus reigns on high – higher than any other. This was radical good news for a people who were oppressed by the Roman Super Power. It was extremely subversive to state that there was one greater than Caesar the great. In fact it was an act of treason because to declare Jesus is Lord means that Caesar is not – and this is normally a problem for Caesar-like-people.
Ascension Day is therefore profoundly political in that it places all power (including social, economic, political and religious power) on notice. This is how the author of Ephesians put it:
“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” [Eph. 1:20-23]
In summary: Jesus has power over everything that has power over us. This is good news! It is also liberating news! If we trust the truth that Ascension Day boldly declares, we will be filled with courage to challenge the powers that be whenever they fail to be used to bring life as they are meant to.
On Ascension Day our parents from the Eastern Cape, who have been living inside this sanctuary for the past few weeks did a courageous thing. They lay down on the roads and blocked the entrances to parliament seeking justice in regard to the non-payment of their pensions. Their bold action said to the politically powerful “we are not afraid of you … we serve the greater power of truth and justice … you think we are powerless … we are not … we will show you how powerful our bodies are”.
Our parents from the Eastern Cape continue to gift us as they practice the Ascension and live out the Gospel.
Remember: Jesus has power over everything that has power over us.