Today is the Feast of the Ascension – consider that – permission to celebrate and feast...
Today is Ascension, the day we remember forty days after Jesus’ resurrection when we celebrate that Jesus is lifted into Heaven in front of His disciples.
Ascension is also 10 days before we celebrate the birth of the Church, the arrival of the Holy Spirit – Pentecost.
But I sometimes struggle with Ascension…don’t tell the Bishop…I just want to jump to Pentecost.
I struggle with celebrating Jesus leaving Earth just when the disciples had got used to Him being back again.
I find it difficult to celebrate Jesus going away when all I’d really like is Him to have stayed and made it all good…a little longer at least.
Jesus was everything to the disciples. Guardian, guide, helper and teacher.
He was traumatically taken from them the first time and yet returned when He promised He would.
He then spends 40 days being seen by them, working with them, encouraging them, performing many other signs and wonders but now it’s time to go again. But this time is different.
He has proved His power. He has beaten death. He has broken down the barriers between us and God.
And so He plans His leaving and His returning.
He promises to always be with them AND also to send ANOTHER Advocate – guardian, guide, helper and teacher.
And as if going away will increase His ability to help, he leaves His disciples as strong as they could possibly be. Full of hope and promise.
And as a sign that He still hasn’t left them completely – two people dressed in white reassure them that He will return as He said He would.
Like when we are able to step back from our current stresses and see where we’ve come, what has helped and when the next break will happen, so Jesus Ascends to a place where He can help us more, all of us rather than the rag tag bunch of misfits who will begin the church, spread the word and change History.
And in our time of being separated – like the disciples were – we must remember Jesus’ promises for this time we face together:
Believe in me and you will be saved.
Believe in me and I will be with you always.
I go to prepare a place for you. I go to advocate to the Father for you. I will hear your prayers.
I go to send you power and another helper, guide and guardian. I will send the Holy Spirit. I will come again.
And all this so that we might stand tall in the faith of Jesus.
All of this that we might gain the power and guidance and protection of God afresh through the Spirit and the Son.
And all of this that His Spirit, His Power and His Promise and His Hope is for all of us for all of time, until He comes again.
Grant, we pray, Almighty God:
That we who believe that your Son Jesus Christ blessed His disciples and ascended into the heavens,
May also believe that our hearts and minds might also be blessed by Him and be protected and guided by His Spirit,
That we may live in Him and He in us now and forever more. Amen.
The 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost is also a Global time of Prayer for all Church of England Churches – It is called Thy Kingdom Come.
For more information: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/about-us
I will send more information later today on this. Have a good day.