Giotto, Ascension of Chist, from the Arena Chapel, Padua
Margaret Watson out on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota gives what I think is the best Ascension Day sermon I've ever read.
I strive never to speak of that "better place" the other preachers speak of. I think it only encourages despair. And all kinds of poor theology. But that "better place" is ingrained in the psyche of the People --the campfires that burn and sparkle above us proof that our ancestors are waiting for us. In a better place --where there is no sighing or crying....
I do speak of God knowing, personally, all our suffering --as even Jesus wept at the death of his friend. I do speak of things --seen and unseen, right alongside us. I do speak of God taking a cold, rock hard tomb and making it a place of new life. I do speak of grieving in a holy way, full of honor and respect --not lost in masking the pain, but making room for God in that pain.
What I am left with this morning is the certain understanding that the body is holy --that life is sacred. It is the 40th day of Easter. It is the Ascension --one of the most ancient holy days in Christian Tradition... and the People suffer. And weep.
William Blake, Ascension of Christ