"You ascended from before our eyes and we turned back grieving, only to find you in our hearts." -Augustine, The Confessions: Book Four
This is a profound mystery. The journey to this place engraved onto a mountain of what seemed like infinitesimal but significant decisions. Each decision defining, redefining, transforming and leading upward toward a destination of unimaginable grace. A confident message declared a belief to the world that we could become part of something greater. Life and death had been hopelessly intertwined in a tumbling embrace through history. Hopelessness had decisively ended as a man reached across the divide with a proposal to love and be loved forever. A bride could consent to become a wife, the two could become one and they could ascend to an ultimate place of beginning.
Nothing would ever separate them again.
Jesus told Mary Magdalene to let go. She would have to trust him and his promise that he could deliver something far greater. It is likely Mary thought she lost someone and a relationship she cherished for a second time. In truth, Mary did lose something. Her loss became her gain. By letting go of the risen Jesus, she could have a relationship with the ascended Jesus. Their relationship newly defined by an intimacy lasting throughout eternity-never to be separated ever again. The bridegroom came not only to her but for the church forever. Jesus fully alive ascended to a plane previously hidden and now revealed for all. The ascended Jesus is deeply personal and supremely powerful. He is actively engaged in the continuation of his work and waits in eager anticipation for the consummation of the whole universe. The ascended Jesus is available to all. Infinite. Majestic. Incomparable. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)