Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ascension, the end of the humdrum

It's amazing how easily bored we can get. There is an interesting trend that, as soon as boredom sets in, our heads sink into chests, either to nod off, or to consult the delights of the all-knowing, all-entertaining mobile phone.

Interestingly, we get bored with pretty much everything. Animals get bored too. There are some very sad videos of horses pacing around their stables desperate to leave the shackles of their stable and to get into the paddock for a run around and explore. For animals, there is usually an alternative to being bored, some activity which will result in stimulation and thus some form of happiness. Animals' boredom usually results from a restriction imposed upon them (usually by human beings) which, when removed, allows that animal to be what it is.

Pain, hunger, thirst and fear have very clear causes and very clear methods of alleviation. To alleviate the boredom of the horse, you just need to open the stable door. To alleviate our boredom, we need to find the cause. Yet, does boredom have a cause? What sort of stimulation do we need?

As soon as a task becomes repetitive or samey, we lose interest and boredom sets in. Yet it doesn't feel as urgent as pain or fear. It's almost as if the very task of existing is repetitive or samey. The fact that humans can indeed suffer from ennui and weltschmerz points to our unease of just simply being. They are both recognized sensations. We know that weltschmerz is, by definition, a dissatisfaction with the world as it appears. Some people avoid it, finding everything in life to amuse them and give life meaning, yet still, we all seem to suffer some form of boredom. As the horse transcends her stable, do we transcend our own environment? Do we transcend the very world in which we live?

Christians believe so, and the Ascension of Our Lord points to that most definitely.

In descending to us, Our Lord empties Himself of that which would set Him apart from humanity. He becomes limited in ability, in power, in endurance, in duration and in space. Was he ever bored? Given that He wrote in the sand while the Powers-that-be sought to condemn a woman taken in adultery and in doing so seek to discredit His ministry, one might conclude that Our Lord was indeed bored with the interminable legal gnat-straining of those who believed themselves to be the arbiters of knowledge, truth and righteousness. We can only speculate with Our Lord. If He ever was bored, He never showed it and perhaps He was able to work against it.

How? By prayer? That would seem reasonable. If you seek an end to your boredom, you seek to transcend the situation that you're in. Prayer might not cure the boredom, but it might keep it in perspective by giving yourself more fully to the One Who is completely transcendent and, precisely because He is transcendent, is completely immanent.

In ascending, Our Lord is re-clothed with everything that he stripped off in order to be with us. He ascends in His Humanity showing that humanity is not destroyed by ascending. In Our Lord Jesus it is not only possible but it is a fact that Humanity and Divinity can be indivisibly entwined. In ascending Our Lord steps off of the page of the drawing that He drew in order to be present with it without limitation.

In ascending, He offers us the chance too to cease being drawings on the page, but to gain substance, depth, to become more solid and to step off the page in Him. In being with God we find ourselves given a place in His Being, in His substance that can only come from Ascension.  This is not just a time of farewell to One Whose love for us gave us redemption, but a demonstration of the Christian's true fate - a gaol-break out from the stable and into Reality itself! And we'll never be bored again!

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