We live in an age of celebrity Christians. If it’s not the mega church pastors, it’s the best-selling authors or the Christian rock stars. While we may not worship them (at least not that we admit), we certainly want to be like them. But we constantly fall short.
Christina Kelly (former editor of young women’s magazines like Sassy and Elle) once wrote,
Why do we crave celebrities? Here is my theory. To be human is to feel inconsequential. So we worship celebrities and we seek to look like them.
But it is so dumb, with this stream of perfectly airbrushed, implanted, liposuctioned stars, you have to be an absolute powerhouse of self-esteem not to feel totally inferior before them.
So we worship them because we feel inconsequential, but doing it makes us feel even worse. We make them stars but then their fame makes us feel insignificant. I am part of this whole process as an editor. No wonder I feel soiled at the end of the day.
Oftentimes the greatness of others is crushing to us.
A couple of weeks ago Christians celebrated the Ascension of Jesus. Do you ever wonder why we celebrate the Ascension? I understand celebrating the birth of Jesus, and his resurrection, and even his death on a cross (if we understand what it means). But his Ascension? Yet after his Ascension, the disciples “returned … with great joy” (Luke 24:51). They celebrated the Ascension.*
When I was about ten years old, my father taught me how to sail our small sailboat. He taught me how to capture the wind, how to steer with a tiller, and how to “right” the sailboat when it capsized.
One day after another sail together, my father looked at me and said, “Go on, take her out by yourself.” The wind was rather strong; the waves were rather large; and my mother was rather terrified. I loved it. I took the boat out alone. The wind blew splashes in my excited face. I was a ten-year-old boy alone on the sea; I was Captain Hook, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake all rolled into one.
That was one of the most memorable days of my mere ten years of existence. I still delight in the memory.
What does the Ascension have to do my solo sail? Well, quite a bit, actually. As I’ve reflected on the Ascension, here is what God is saying to me.