Silence and a Billion Songs
Gospel Reading for the Ascension of the Lord (Year C)
That's all there can be, can it? Jesus died. He was buried. He rose from the grave. He appeared to them all. And then he ascended into the heavens. He lifted up off the ground and flew off into the sky. There are simply no words. How could your brain even compute all that had just happened? How could you speak? What could you say?
Early in Luke's Gospel, Mary witnesses the amazing events surrounding her child's birth and the author tells us that she pondered those things in her heart. The words and events echoed and bounced inside of her. Silence. And here at the end, one has to wonder if the disciples were doing the same. Did they treasure the words and ponder them in their heart? Did they wonder what on earth was going to happen next.
Silence seems like the only appropriate response. It's the only rational response.
Yet then Luke tells us that they worshiped Jesus. Perhaps that was in silence too. But I have always imagined them bursting into song. The picture in my head goes way outside of what scripture would say, but I imagine all of time condensing on that one point. The disciples do not sing one song, but rather their hearts sing all of the songs.
Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger interposed his precious blood
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant
All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone
You shall love the Lord your God with all Your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
Blessed is the king
Who comes in the name of the Lord!
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your Maker
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now they sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Allelulia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lifted me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay
And I will sing, sing a new song
All creatures of our God and King!
Lift up your voice and with us sing!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts
The whole earth is full of His glory
You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That he is God
Give to the wind your fear
Hope and be undismayed
God hears your sighs and counts your tears
God will lift up, God will lift up, lift up your head
O Lord, our Sovereign,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise God all creatures here below!
All of it. Psalms. The praises their people sang in moments of victory. Ancient hymns. Bar melodies imbued with sacred lyrics. Songs of worship. Modern iPod prophets. Accidental grace notes. Songs yet to even be written. The past, present, and far-flung future all colliding in the hearts of what these disciples saw as Jesus ascended to heaven. I like to believe that is what happened even if they didn't realize it. There was silence and then a supernova of a billion songs. How else could you respond?