Ascension Day

Today is Ascension Day – the day when Jesus was eventually ‘carried up into heaven’ (Luke 24: 51). We can read about this in Luke 24: 44-53 and Acts 1:1-11. The Acts version tells us that the disciples, having watched this happen and having stood staring for some time, no doubt not believing what they had seen, eventually made their way back to Jerusalem. There they went to the room where they were staying and where other disciples had been waiting and praying.

No doubt the company there listened to this fantastic story told by those who had just returned and spent hours taking about what it all meant and what would happen next, until Peter finally got up and proposed some practical action to move them forward – appoint a replacement for Judas.

It must have been a very strange time for the disciples after Jesus had been taken up from them. A time of uncertainty, anxiety. None of them knew what the future would bring. Should they hide away in case the authorities were looking for those who had followed Jesus? Should they go back to where they came from and try and get on with their lives as best they could? Or should they wait and see what God was going to do next?

What happened was that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and the rest, as they say, is history!

What about us? We face a similar moment of change and uncertainty. Having been locked down in our homes to avoid being infected with the Coronavirus, we are now having to contemplate whether and how we might start to venture out again as schools reopen and we are allowed to travel further for ‘exercise’. What will the next phase be? Will the government’s next phase be able to be enacted? What of our churches – should we reopen if the restrictions are lifted on July 4th and if we do, how can we do that safely and what will it look like?

At present it feels too soon to make detailed plans. Things change so quickly, plans made this week might be obsolete by next week. Most of all we do not know what God has planned, just as the disciples didn’t after Ascension Day. So like them we wait, and we watch, we pray and we respond as God leads us to do so. At least we have the advantage of knowing that the Holy Spirit is already here!

We Sing the Praise of Jesus – from the New Room, Bristol 2012

Published by andrewpbiggs

Methodist minister currently serving the Gloucestershire Circuit. Married to Julie. Enjoy reading and playing the guitar badly.

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