I’ll Fly Away Oh Glory!

Those who like fairy tales should love the story of the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Like Dorothy, who is swept up by a cyclone to Oz, Jesus floats up and disappears up into what must be a Technicolor heaven. Fantasy tales are full of this sort of thing. Peter Pan flies away to Neverland; Mary Poppins is whisked away when the wind changes, and the space ship comes to carry E.T. home to his peaceful planet.

It is easy enough to dismiss the Ascension story as a piece of first century science fiction. Jesus had to go somewhere after he rose from the dead so the first century Isaac Asimov said, “I know. Let’s beam him up. Sounds cool.” But it has the awful whiff of a deux ex machina ending, except in reverse.  There the god was cranked down from the theatre rafters to resolve the plot and bring a happy ending. Here the God is cranked up from the stage to disappear in a cloud of glory and live happily ever after. We can almost see the scenery shudder and catch a glimpse of the dry ice machine. It is easy enough to see the similarities of the Ascension to fairy tales and pantomimes and assume that since the fairy stories are untrue that the Ascension is also untrue. But what if it is the other way around? Read more.

Go here for a post from the archives on the Ascension. This post about the ascension asks Where Did Jesus Go?


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