Category Archives: Ascension

Ascension – Redux

While he was still with them, he said:

Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. . . . But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power.  

After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1: 6-8a, 9 (CEV)

Something new is coming,
something incredible,
beyond imagination
and manipulation.

Something
promised.

Well maybe.
That is to say, we hope it is.

He said it would.

We watched him rise up
out on the hill,
wind blustering all around,
and the jagged saw of goodbye
chewing us apart.

Don’t go. Don’t go. We love you so!

And the love
filling us up
and tipping us

over with its force.

And us, breathless and blown,
rolling and tumbling down
the mountain
flung and spinning
out from the core of that splendor. 

His Words,
imprinted
on our souls like a bright tattoo.

And the angels saying, Get up. Get going!

He said to wait.
Wait.

There would be more, something else,
spirit he called it,
who will help us remember it all,

help us catch our breath,
and give us legs for such a world, as we have glimpsed.

Oh, why not Him? Why this spirit thing,
when we had a love
we could hold in our arms and look in the eye?

The Father, reaching down into humanity,
snatches back the offspring
of his selfless, effervescent generosity.

Dear God,
you catch up very God of very God,
begotten not made,
by the scruff
of his collar
and draw him back into your joyful dance.

What are you thinking,
cutting in like this, sweeping off with our partner?

Life is eternal – that is good news.
But what to do with the life and the love,
left here as we are, knocking about in the flesh?

Don’t ask of us such vulnerability,
this being clueless, with nothing to hang onto,
suspended between cloud and fire,
dangling
from only a dim memory
and a bright promise.

I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. Ephesians 1: 17 (CEV)
(This post is adapted from post originally published in 2010.)
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Ascension

While he was still with them, he said:

Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. . . . But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power.  

After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1: 6-8a, 9 (CEV)

Something new is coming,
something incredible,
beyond imagination
and manipulation.

Something
promised.

Well maybe.
That is to say, we hope it is.

He said it would.

We watched him rise up
out on the hill,
wind blustering all around,
and the jagged saw of goodbye
chewing us apart.

Don’t go. Don’t go. We love you so!

And the love
filling us up
and tipping us

over with its force.

And us, breathless and blown,
rolling and tumbling down
the mountain
flung and spinning
out from the core of that splendor. 

His Words,
imprinted
on our souls like a bright tattoo.

And the angels saying, Get up. Get going!

He said to wait.
Wait.

There would be more, something else,
spirit he called it,
who will help us remember it all,

help us catch our breath,
and give us legs for such a world, as we have glimpsed.

Oh, why not Him? Why this spirit thing,
when we had a love
we could hold in our arms and look in the eye?

The Father, reaching down into humanity,
snatches back the offspring
of his selfless, effervescent generosity.

Dear  God,
catching up very God of very God, begotten not made,
by the scruff
of his collar
and drawing him back into your joyful dance,

what are you thinking,
cutting in like this, sweeping off with our partner?

Life is eternal – that is good news.
But what to do with the life and the love,
left here as we are, knocking about in the flesh?

Please do not ask of us such vulnerability,
this being clueless, with nothing to hang onto,
suspended between cloud and fire,
dangling
from only a dim memory and a bright promise.

Few things leave us more vulnerable
than Love and the Holy Spirit. 

I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. Ephesians 1: 17 (CEV)
(This post is adapted from post originally published in 2010.)

In Between – Ascension and Pentecost

While he was still with them, he said:
Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. While the apostles were still with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?”Jesus said to them, “You don’t need to know the time of those events that only the Father controls. But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.”    Acts 1: 6-9 (CEV)
I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. Ephesians 1: 17 (CEV)
Something new is coming,
something incredible,
something beyond our imagination
and our manipulation.
Something promised.
Well maybe.
That is to say, we hope it is.
He said it would.
And you know,
if you think about it,
didn’t the things he said
turn out as he promised?
Well. Yes.
But not always the way we thought.
Maybe we heard it wrong. Maybe we were just really gullible.
But no. We saw it with our own eyes. Heard with our own ears.
We watched him rise up
out on the hill,
wind blustering all around,
and the jagged saw of goodbye

chewing us apart.

Don’t go. Don’t go. We love you so!
And the love
filling us up
and tipping us
over
with its force.
And us, breathless and blown
rolling and tumbling around
like trash in an alley.
His Words,
imprinted
on our souls like a bright tattoo.
And the angels saying, Get up. Get going!
He said to wait.
Hold still. Be still.
Wait.
There would be more. Something else.
Spirit he called it.
Comforter, advocate, guide,
who will help us remember it all.
Help us catch our breath,
and give us legs for such a world, as we have glimpsed.
Oh, why not Him? Why this spirit thing,
when we had a love we could hold in our arms and look in the eye?
The Father, reaching down into humanity,
snatches back the offspring
of his selfless, effervescent generosity,
his dear and only Love.
Oh God,
catching up very God of very God, begotten not made,
by the scruff
of his collar
and drawing him back into your joyful dance,
what are you thinking, cutting in like this, sweeping off with our partner?
Life is eternal – that is good news.
But what to do with the life and the love,
left here as we are, knocking about in the flesh?
He said to wait. Just wait.
Few things leave us more vulnerable than the Holy Spirit. Few things ask us to tolerate being clueless, with nothing to hang onto,
but a memory and a promise.

Read more about prayer at
www.fromholyground.org

Tracking Holiness – Newsletter

Contact Loretta at
lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary

Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross

Become a fan of the The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer

Mary Oliver Reads Poems at the Leid Center

Tall, slender, white hair falling over her face, stooped at the shoulders, unpretentious – she read about foxes, red birds, rivers, her dog, Percy. And a heron.

 

I saw it lift off the rail of a high balcony in the Leid Center. Unfolding her great wings,  the heron sailed over our heads and slipped neatly through the mottled blue curtain behind Miss Oliver.
I saw the tucked black foot of the swan in the dark water of the lake. I wondered if someone said there was a bear in the Truro woods, would the bear just maybe appear, because the town so much needed something wild and singular.

 

As she bowed over the podium picking out poems, Mary Oliver handed me my life on a platter. Lean over it, she said. Inhale its beauty. Taste its exotic flavors. Slurp the juice and let it run down your jowls.

 

The next day someone told me told about coming close to her own death, while flying north in a small plane. Ice began to form on the wings. Shaken to the core, she met her own fierce desire to live. “I don’t want to leave yet. I am not done enjoying the world and being part of it,” she told me.

 

The poet made a mistake. She was reading A Summer Day with its unforgettable closing line: What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Instead of reading precious, she said perfect.  Later in the question and answer time, a woman asked the poet if she finds her poems changing over time and that she had noticed Oliver had a changed a word in the last sentence of A Summer Day. “I did?! What?” the poet exclaimed. She had no idea she had replaced precious with perfect. “Well, isn’t that interesting?” she laughed.

 

Some are blessed enough to know life is precious. A moment is given where our wings take on ice, we go into a stall, and hover an instant before a freefall into the secret.

 

But what does it mean to know your life is also perfect? Coming from God and returning to God, how could it not be perfect? Ours is a God who told Moses his name was being itself, Yahweh.

 

Our life – frayed, fretful, and failed – is perfect. It is we, who give it a dwelling place and personality for a time, who are too distracted to see its splendor and too imperfect to perceive its perfection.

 

We – querulous and argumentative, standing center stage in our little dramas – miss that great and perfect bird sweeping silently through the blue, light streaked, curtain of mystery.

 

…Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is
that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed
back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.
.   .   .   .   .
…this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body
into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.
from Heron Rises from the Dark Summer Pond, Mary Oliver
Read more about prayer at
www.fromholyground.org
Tracking Holiness – Newsletter
Contact Loretta at lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary
Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross
Become a fan of the The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer