Carried Up (Artful Devotion)

Ascension by Bagong Kussudiardja
Bagong Kussudiardja (Indonesian, 1928–2004), Ascension, 1983.

This Thursday, May 10, the church commemorates Jesus’s ascension into heaven—an event Luke describes twice!

“While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51)

“. . . as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

Read the full passages at https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=92.

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MUSIC: “Liebesträume No. 3” by Franz Liszt (1850) | Performed by Jenő Jandó, on The Essentials: Greatest Classics, vol. 1 (2016)

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The ascension is so central [to Christianity] because it assures us that the Incarnation continues. Christ didn’t just come among us for thirty-three years, slumming, as it were, and then when his work was done, say, “Phew! I’m glad that’s over! I’m going to unzip this skin suit and get back to heavenly living,” leaving us here on our own. He went into heaven with a pledge of all that we are going to become. Tertullian, I think, was the first one to put it that way. The Spirit, in scripture, is the pledge of Christ’s presence in us, but Christ’s continuing body is the pledge of what we’re going to have in heaven. So the ascension tells us that Christ has not let go of our humanity. He truly wants to take human beings where we’ve never gone before: into the very life of the triune God.

—Gerrit Scott Dawson, author of Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation, from an Authors on the Line interview


This post belongs to the weekly series Artful Devotion. If you can’t view the music player in your email or RSS reader, try opening the post in your browser.

To view all the Revised Common Lectionary scripture readings for Ascension Day, cycle B, click here.

4 thoughts on “Carried Up (Artful Devotion)

    1. Beautiful, isn’t it? I always link the images I use to their online source, though it looks like the link where I found this one is now dead. I would try contacting the Asian Christian Art Association (http://www.asianchristianart.org/). The image is published in the June 1985 issue of their IMAGE journal (https://issuu.com/acaaimagemagadmin/docs/24/5), as well as on page 165 of their book THE BIBLE THROUGH ASIAN EYES (1991), without further credit info. Good luck!

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