The Meta In Metaphysics | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

05.19.23 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

Yesterday was the Feast of the Ascension, and we will commemorate this holy day in our church calendar when we gather for worship on Sunday. Like so much in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s time on earth with us, the Ascension is mysterious. In some ways, the description of what happened is concrete (Jesus gathers his followers, blesses them, and then is carried up to heaven) and in other ways it is fantastical (Jesus gathers his followers, blesses them, and then is carried up to heaven!).

In honor of the immanence and the transcendence of this Principal Feast, I offer this poem from Emily Dickenson. Dickenson was a mystic; in touch with the eternal, even as she lived most of her life in isolation in the small New England town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Though her work was not well known during her lifetime, since her death in 1886 she has come to be considered one of the most important American poets. Here is her poem #501; a short meditation on faith, questioning, this world with us, and what we know and don’t know about what awaits us in the next:

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, dont know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujah’s roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –


Title: Ascension; Scripture: Luke 24:44-53; Notes: Altarpiece from Thuison-les-Abbeville, France

Title: Ascension; Date: ca. 1490-1500; Artist: French (Picardy); Building: Art Institute of Chicago; Object/Function: Painting, panel; City/Town: Chicago; State: IL; Country: United States; Scripture: Luke 24:44-53; Notes: Altarpiece from Thuison-les-Abbeville, France.

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson


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