Ascension Sunday 2014

The Ascension of Christ

I would hazard a guess that most of us, most of the time, live with Christ’s apparent absence rather than the sense of his presence. The Ascension is therefore very much our kind of feast: Christ is taken from us into a mysterious realm we have not yet experienced, but —and it is an important but — we have his assurance that he is with us until the end of time. His mode of being with us is different. That means, of course, that our mode of being with him must be different, too. I think we often forget that, and feel a sense of failure that our faith is so lacklustre, coming and going rather than remaining steadfast through thick and thin. We want to be angels before we have learned how to be fully human!

If living by faith means anything at all, I think it means going on, as best we can, without the ‘sensible helps’ of a comforting presence we can summon up at will. It means persevering, without knowing that we have all the answers. In short, it means placing our trust in this shadowy, mysterious Presence we acknowledge as our Lord and God, certain only of his love, not of the way in which his love will be poured out upon us. The Ascension is an opportunity to reaffirm our trust and await the coming of the Holy Spirit, who will be tongued with purifying and strengthening fire. We may gaze blankly into heaven at times, but we can be sure that the merciful eye of the Lord is always on us. Let us give thanks for that.

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8 thoughts on “Ascension Sunday 2014”

  1. A lovely image you have used, with Jesus not just ascending but being given a helping hand up, stretched out from above. Something we can all use from time-to-time.

    • Yes! I was tempted to comment on the iconography . . . such an early depiction of the Ascension; Jesus commissioning his disciples (including the women at the tomb); the Father’s hand; the tree of life. So much to make us think!

  2. As someone whose prayer has been that of faith for 25 or so years, with nuances of change and depth and occasional bursts of sunshine, I love your association of that with the Ascension. It’s certainly a link I had never thought of before. And I can definitely resonate with “…certain only of his love, not of the way in which his love will be poured out upon us.” – Thanks!

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