The song for today is ‘You Are All I Have’ from ‘Like A Beautiful Day’. Christ needs us to speak and act in his name. To be his hands and his feet.
We read in this extract from the Acts of the Apostles, ‘As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight’. Then two men in white are standing there and say, ‘Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky’? It would seem obvious since Christ had just been lifted up in front of their eyes. Who wouldn’t be looking up? Maybe the question was more about the disciples standing still and not moving on.
When you think about some of the major decisions you have made in your life, what was it that motivated you in the end to let go of the security you had known and enter into a whole new phase of your life?
The disciples had to begin a whole new phase of their lives. Christ was no longer going to be around as he had been. They now had to be the ones to give witness to all they had seen and heard. The Ascension from one perspective is their coming of age. Christ giving them the mandate to go out and live all they had experienced with him and inspire others to do the same. This work continues in and through us.
Being able to let go isn’t always easy. The familiar can be safe and predictable. What have been some of those moments for you? Moving house and familiar surroundings, leaving loved ones, our loved ones leaving us and going out on their own, job changes, the aging process, illness which has meant we can’t do things like we used to, having to let go control of a situation we are part of or a project or idea we created, allowing other people to do things for us, loved ones dying and having to cope with being alone. The Ascension is challenging us not to stand still for too long and simply stare into the sky, thinking things will never be the same and how can I go on. And it is true, things aren’t the same, they are just different. Christ knew his disciples were up to the task and we can be confident that he believes in us to.
The wonderful thing about the Ascension is that Jesus understands what it is like for us, he understands about letting go, he gave his life away, he leads the way and our humanity in Jesus is now caught up in God. All the stuff of our lives has meaning and purpose in Jesus. We say in the creed that Christ ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From that place he is backing us all the way.