Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Ascension of our Lord

The following is an excerpt from an Ascensiontide sermon by The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad:

Not long ago I saw a wonderful picture of Jesus' ascension. It was a black and white woodcut print finely etched. In the picture Jesus is rising up as the disciples watch him disappear into the clouds. If you look closely at the picture, not in the clouds, but on the ground, you can see footprints on the earth. The artist has carefully etched Jesus' footprints down on the level where the disciples are standing with their mouths open. Perhaps the artist was simply imagining a homey detail that isn't in the text. Or, perhaps, the artist is pressing us with the old question, "Why do you stand looking up into heaven? Look at these footprints here on the earth." Jesus' muddy footprints are all over the pages of the gospels.

* Can you see Jesus' footprints in the wilderness? Each time he was tempted to claim earthly power and glory, he reached up and touched the words of Torah. One does not live by bread alone. Worship the Lord your God and serve only God.
* Can you see Jesus walking on the wrong side of the street with the wrong people?
* Can you see Jesus walking up to a sycamore tree, then looking up at Zachaeus, the tax collector, perched in the branches? "Come down, Zachaeus," Jesus said, "let's walk over to your house for dinner."
* Can you see Jesus walking, then riding, into Jerusalem?
* Can you see him stumbling toward Golgotha, loving us to the very end?
The book of Ephesians poses an interesting question: "What does it mean that Christ is ascended but that he also descended... and now fills the whole universe?" So this doctrine is really a teaching about the ubiquity of Christ. Christ is everywhere at all times. Christ cannot be limited. Ever. That's what this day is all about.


  1. A couple of months ago, I noticed that the stained glass window of the Ascension in my church shows footprints on the ground. I love how this article interprets that.

  2. Yes, I looked for an image with footprints but couldn't find one. I think it's a wonderful custom.

  3. It was so nice to spend time with you on Ascension Day!

    This is such a wonderful visual, I am going to share it with others and incorporate it into my though process over the next few days.

    God bless and keep you!


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