May-Feast of the Ascension
Acts 1 New International Version (NIV)
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The Ascension of Jesus is one of the most difficult passages in scripture to grasp. As human beings we are bound by the constraints of time and place. There is a wonderful line in Shakespeare, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than in all of your philosophy’. The ascension invites us to see beyond the limitations of our daily routine and enter into God-time, and God-place. Following the Ascension, in this God dimension, Jesus is present to us in a new and radical way. He is no longer bound by chronology or geography. He said, ‘wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I also.’ What a very different world it would be if we truly grasped this exciting reality. It is a reality that transforms our existence and makes all things possible. To understand this, we need only consider that it was an odd assortment of fishermen, a tax collector, and women, along with a particularly eloquent, and at times difficult, Pharisee who responded to this message and promise. In so doing they transformed the world.
The Ascension invites us to be part of this transformation of the world and ourselves by recognising the Risen Jesus and relocating into God time and God space.
Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord
Where is the Lord to be found?
Where is the Kingdom of God located?
Lord, remind us that the Kingdom of God is about our hearts and minds open to your presence, your saving action, and your consolation.
In a world that is broken remind us that…
You are present whenever two or three are gathered in your name.
You are present when we do as you did and put others first.
You are with us when we share our talents, commitment and joy to bring your message to this broken world.
Through the Ascension you are with us in a radical new way that transcends time and space.
Lord, help us to be your presence in the world, through all that we are and all that we do.
We ask this through you, Christ our Lord.