Up, Up, and Right Here

 My family knows when my flight is about to take off when I’m traveling because I send them a group text that says “Up, up, and away.”
Today is the liturgical celebration of Ascension Day. On this day, Jesus said “Up, up, and away” to His disciples – rising into the heavens to take His place at the right hand of the Father.
But as He is giving them His final words to them while His feet are still on terra firma, He says “behold I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”  Paradoxes are par for the course with Jesus, but I can imagine the confusion on the disciples’ faces as Jesus raises into the clouds after saying that they’ll never be without Him.
I think we live in some of that confusion. At least I do. What I would give to have Jesus sitting at my dinner table when I open my eyes after saying “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest…”  The questions that I would ask Him – Jesus, how do I do this? I’m so bad at this, Jesus, can you just tell me the way to go? I’m so afraid, Jesus, will you calm me?  I mean, the pious Lutheran pastor in me says, “He IS there,” but I live in a physical world and I have a dumb sense of the spiritual, a sense that needs faith in order to operate. I know He is there, but I struggle with that knowledge. Maybe you do too.
For the longest time, in saying the Creed, I would mix up “ascended” and “descended”, and to this day I still mix them up when confessing the Creed from memory. So I’m looking forward to our Resurrection where I will lead the charge on a liturgical celebration of Jesus’ Descension Day, the day when He comes “in the way that you saw Him go” – a day when I will pray “Come Lord Jesus,…” and He will be right there. Then I’ll hear his voice, not just in my spirit and heart, but reverberating around in my eardrums.
Until that day, I will do my best to keep from looking into the sky, and get about His commission of Baptizing and making disciples – because He’s with me, even unto the end of the age…