… when the FA Cup Final started at 3 o’clock? When there was a piece of card in a Bounty bar? When the BBC used to play a hymn on Ascension Day?
Life is always changing, isn’t it? And in this coming week we see more changes as lockdown restrictions are eased further. Alongside the possibility of going to the theatre and concerts again, we can enter restaurants and pubs. And not least, have the joy of being hugged (cautiously, of course). Indeed, cautious remains a watchword and many will remain anxious too – not least those whose businesses reopen after so many months without the closeness of customers.
These continue to be unsettling and uncertain times.
The one thing that’s certain about change is that change is certain – and over the years I’ve written a number of posts which look at this unsettling companion.
You’ll have your own stories of change and how you managed or have not managed to find stability within them, I’m sure. (I’d love to hear those stories and include them in a new book I’m working on – do please click here to contribute).
On this Ascension Day we remember how the disciples watched as Jesus ascended in to heaven. The Bible tells us about many unusual, perhaps unbelievable events which took place and the Ascension is one of them. To our 21st century rational minds, to speak of someone going up in a cloud is beyond our comprehension. It simply couldn’t happen. It’s impossible.
In essence, the ascension of Jesus represents a significant truth… the physical presence of Christ departs from earth to be replaced by the spiritual presence in the form of the Holy Spirit whose coming we will celebrate in a few days’ time at Pentecost.
So on that day, the disciples, and probably others including many of the faithful women, stand gazing upwards. Perhaps talking about what had happened in those three years that Jesus was with them. ‘Do you remember when he did that…?’ ‘Yeah, that was wicked, man.’
They looked back because the weren’t certain what the future held. They would have found some stability in their memories of Jesus yet the challenge was for their faith to see them in to the future.
The fact is that they, like us, can’t just stand there looking up or looking back.
Some words from Helen Mallicoat…
‘I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
“My name is I AM.” He paused. I waited.
“When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I Was.
“When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I Will Be.
“When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here. My name is I AM.”’
Thank you for reading this post – please do share it with others, subscribe and contribute your thoughts at the WorkRestPray Facebook Group. There are also short films about Ascension and Pentecost for you to watch.