Theological Musings Continued…
What does Jesus’ ascension tell us in our ministry with our YL Capernaum friends?
First, it tells us there are times we experience Jesus’ absence. Our friends know absence intimately: absence of friends, sometimes absence of parents, absence of opportunities to experience in friendship. All of this collectively can make it seem God is absent.
Yet Jesus’ absence ironically means God’s greater presence.
“Now I am going to Him who sent me, yet none of you asks me where are you going? Because I have said these things you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth; it is good for you that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you.” (John 16:5-7)
The disciples were grieved. With absence comes loss and grief. Our friends know this intimately. But God is a God who fills gaps and holes. This absence is to allow the Holy Spirit to give us a 24/7 experience of God’s presence; a presence in the depths of our being not dependent on physical presence. What great news for us and our friends. Our friends, many times, are limited in what they can do and where they can go. This creates absence and grief. But Jesus leaves and then comes the Holy Spirit with a constant, everywhere presence.
All of this influences how we minister and serve with our friends. We must live out a ministry of absence with them. We must not allow our friends to become dependent on us or addicted to us. We must combine absence with presence so they can breathe in the ever-present Holy Spirit on their own. In this way we, as we embrace Jesus’ ascension and absence, facilitate our friends’ growth in discipleship and primary dependence on the Holy Spirit.
He died for us! He was buried! He rose! He ascended!
And now He is always in us, in every moment and every place.
Easter Blessings Upon You,