Tag Archives: Ascension

Comfort to Keep

2015-05-14 07.53.02

A parent had to go away on business.

Something needed to be accomplished that couldn’t be done here, the main site had to be the place.  Neither was it appropriate for the rest of the family to go with them – there was a life to be carried on where they were.

The spouse was worried how they’d cope alone, shouldering all the responsibilities and work alone – but knew they would be able to talk on the phone, to mull things over together and seek advice.

But one of the children was not so easily convinced.  I’ll miss you, I need you; how will I even remember what you look like, sound like, smell like?

And so the parent left something behind.  A special teddy.  The child knew that it was the parent’s.  Battered, loved and very theirs – it even smelt of them.  It was a part of them, a present reminder of the parent who was somewhere else for a time, though very much still watching out for them and loving them – and a reminder of the promise that they would be back.  It reminded them that they were loved, and it made them just a little bit braver to carry on with what they had to do.  It gave them strength that they didn’t know they had – and was a sign of the promise that the parent was coming back.  They still felt bemused and bewildered at times, but they knew they were not abandoned.  They were loved and their parent was cheering for them – if from a different place.

Acts 1:6-11 (CEV)

Jesus Is Taken to Heaven

While the apostles were still with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, are you now going to give Israel its own king again?”

Jesus said to them, “You don’t need to know the time of those events that only the Father controls. But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” After Jesus had said this and while they were watching, he was taken up into a cloud. They could not see him,10 but as he went up, they kept looking up into the sky.

Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them.11 They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky? Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way that you have seen him go.”

The End – or The Beginning

44 Jesus said to them, “While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms had to happen.”

45 Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them:

The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47 They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48 you must tell everything that has happened. 49 I will send you the one my Father has promised, but you must stay in the city until you are given power from heaven.

Jesus Returns to Heaven

50 Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. 51 As he was doing this, he left and was taken up to heaven. 52 After his disciples had worshipped him,  they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. 53 They spent their time in the temple, praising God.

So this really is the end.

Jesus has died and risen again, but now he really has to go.  He blesses them and returns to heaven.

Jesus has left them, in body at least.  But God has not abandoned them.  They will experience him in a new way.  This is not the end, it is a new beginning.

There is work still to be done.  The disciples are to witness to all that Jesus has shown and told them.  They are to keep on sharing the message of repentance and forgiveness – the good news that Jesus brings life, hope, peace, a new start.

This is just the beginning of God’s work.  God is sending his power – just wait and see what he can do…

Lord,

we know that there is still work to do;

that you continue to call us

to share your message of repentance and forgiveness,

love and life,

peace and hope.

I pray now

for you to equip me.

Don’t Stare

I must confess that on our recent holiday, we spent a lot of time staring at the sky.  We were on a French hillside in The Aude with sky all around, and our lodge had been built specifically to face the setting sun. We had the time to stop and stare – and we did.

Jesus has been taken up to Heaven.

The disciples have had the privilege of more time to spend with him since his resurrection, more opportunity to learn more, and now he has gone. But before he goes, Jesus tells them that they will not be left alone – the Holy Spirit will come to them and give them the power for all they are called to do.

And then he was gone.  And the disciples are left standing and staring.

But they are reminded that is not what they are called to do.  They are not there to watch for Jesus coming back, but to get on with the tasks he has given them to do, the work of being his witnesses, his presence, here on earth.  Yes they have seen some amazing things, but they were not for the sake of gawping, but for equipping – and now is the time to get on with it.

We may love to sit in wonder and awe at God and all he has done for us, and that is the right thing to do – but there comes a time for action.  There is no point being aware of God’s awesomeness if it doesn’t move us to do something.

So let’s take time to stare – and then get on with what God is calling us to do through that.

Lord

when I gaze on you,

when I look in awe at all that you have done,

I am caught up in wonder and praise.

But from there

may I take all you give

and go and tell others

what there is to see.