Summary: The downward movement of God becoming man is mirrored by the upward movement of Christ returning to the Father
Tuesday of 6th week in Easter
Earthquake! What a terrifying sound that must have been to a first-century Greek. We in South Texas, sitting on this tapioca-karst bed of limestone as we do, far from any real tectonic plate junctions, have no idea what fear the word “earthquake” provokes. The poor jailer in Acts knew that if falling rocks didn’t kill him, his bosses would for letting prisoners escape. The fear was so palpable he was ready to commit the ultimate sin of self-destruction. But in the end the miracles that accompanied the earthquake caused an inner tremor in himself. The story has a happy ending because he believed the Word of God. He and his whole household–presumably even the little children–were joined to the Body of Christ.
The Gospel, however, reveals the true earthquake. The event that literally shook the world was the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The life that began in a cave near Bethlehem was not ended in the cavernous tomb. No, the downward movement of God becoming man is paralleled by the upward movement of Christ–the God-man– returning to the Father. And this week as we celebrate the ascension of Jesus, we are reminded that he also fulfilled the Scripture that says “he took away captives.” That is, we who are baptized, who are incorporated into Christ, are ransomed from the hold of sin and death and bear already in our bodies the seeds of our own resurrection.
As we begin final exams, it makes sense to ask ourselves how well we are prepared for the most important exam of our life–the particular judgement. As the words of Godspell say: “you’d better pay attention, build your comprehension. There’s gonna be a quiz at your ascension. Not to mention any threat of hell, but if you’re smart you’ll learn your lessons well.”