17 May 2012

Luke 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!

To Ponder

What have you done or are going to do, for Christ today?


Bible notes author

Margaret Sawyer

Margaret Sawyer has worked for the Methodist Connexional Team for ten years, first as connexional secretary for Women's Network and then as the Church's equality and diversity officer. She now works to support preaching and worship in her local circuit and district.