17 May 2012Luke 24:44-53
"While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." (vv. 51-52)
The closing verses of today's passage from Luke, resemble the
fading shots of a love film or the last paragraphs of a love story
such as, the last time the time-traveller husband leaves his wife
in the book of that title. Or the shots in Titanic as the lovers
ride in the bow of the ship just before it goes down. Or the story
in Brokeback Mountain. Here are snapshots of couples secure in
their love for one another, enjoying that love even though they
know it is fatal.
We read today how the disciples returned to Jerusalem, "with great joy" after Christ has parted from them. How can that joy be real?
At times of separation or change, I have found that the best thing to do to overcome feelings of such loss and loneliness, can often be to busy myself. If the job that I then do is also required or is expected by others this helps me to feel valued and still feel as though I belong.
Christ has explained to the disciples what is happening to him and charges them to go and wait until they are in receipt of the power of the Holy Spirit and then to go and offer forgiveness to all. He has given them a job to do that is expected of them by God and indeed, himself. The disciples have a mission in life - all is not gone, separation does not mean emptiness. They will still be loved and still be needed by God to be, 'witnesses to it all'.
Today, Ascension Day, could be seen as the end - the final parting in our love affair with Christ. But God has no other feet and hands, hearts and minds, but ours as those in Christ. We believe that God is in everything, not hidden in the clouds or some other remote idyll but with us wherever we are.
So maybe today is the beginning of the rest of our lives!
What have you done or are going to do, for Christ today?