Scripture and Experience = Metaphor

Today is the Feast of the Ascension. Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus departed this realm of time and space bounded by the senses and third dimensions. We speak of his ascending into heaven as if it were a direction and that heaven was region just beyond the clouds.

It is essential not to let our metaphors get out of control. To over-identify with our metaphors is to court disaster. The quotes of third very different men below this entry speak to the tension of metaphorical thinking.

I love the painting by Dali of the Ascension with the soles of Jesus’ feet dominating the canvas. The artist is playing with us, I think. His humor is mixed in with his piety. Having ascending Jesus is no longer localized in a body. Now that is ascended he can be everywhere at once.  During the days of his incarnation he could not be in Galilee and Jerusalem at the same time.

He is now present to us in a universal and persistent way — that is sealed for us at Pentecost with the coming of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who will be with you and in you (as he said).