(“The Ascension of Christ,” by Salvador Dali)

The Twelfth Station–The Ascension of Jesus

Leader: O Risen Christ, Light of the world, we adore you;
People: You left our mortal coil again, but this time, in glory.

The disciples knew, as they stood there on the mountain with Jesus, that something was about to change. It brought an electric sense of excitement to the group, but it was excitement tinged with fear. Was he going to leave to create new bands of disciples? Was he going to give each of them God-like powers? What would be the chain of command among those who remained? Peter had been given a specific charge, but what about the rest of them? Certainly Jesus would explain this to them.

As they were rolling these thoughts around in their heads, suddenly a cloud appeared, and when the cloud was out of sight, so was Jesus. Instead, two men in white robes had appeared. Were they angels? “Men of Galilee,” they told them, “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who had been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Jesus had left them, with no further instructions. They were to figure it out on their own. But this time he had left them in glory, rather than through an indignant death. He had left them in the hope of new life rather than the darkness of death.

Leader: The cloud took Jesus from the disciples,
People: But the disciples were not abandoned; God’s holy presence remained.

Leader: Let us pray.
(a brief period of silence is observed.)

Mysterious God,
Just as the disciples were left with the presence of angels,
we are left in our daily walk not with your physical Son,
but with his presence and your presence.
We are also left with your trust–trust that we,
using our hearts and minds, can discern your will and your desires for us.
Sharpen our skills to sense your presence within us
and to willingly be led by it.
Help us to feel the glimmer of your Incarnation
when we find ourselves walking in places
that we would never take ourselves on our own.
Show us the angels in our midst.

People: Amen.

Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!