Ascension Day is this Thursday (we will be having a service at 6am on that day, WITH BREAKFAST, please do join us!). It will be 40 days since the glorious resurrection of Jesus at Easter, going off to be with God the Father (and Mother).
It is an image that I marvel at just wondering, “How would that look to the disciples?” Many artists have tried to depict the scene, but I doubt that they would have come any where near the glorious picture.
Christ has gone to be on high with God, to take his throne over all dominions and powers. In the past I have not always reacted well with authority; being told what to do, by people who you don’t always like or agree with, isn’t an easy thing to do, but now that I am a bit longer in the tooth, with a bit more maturity (I hope), I pray for them. Even so, people ‘on high’ can be a bit problematic.
We can sometimes see God as someone who is “on high”, making decisions for us, the biggest boss of all - but that is not a helpful way to think. God does not change his mind; he doesn’t do one thing one day and another the next. There is no “to do” list with him. God is always, yesterday, today and tomorrow, pouring out his love, abundant and unending.
There are no whims, no fancies, no capriciousness, no decisions, and on Thursday, we celebrate as Jesus carries his life (and yours and mine) into the heart of that love, forever.
All things depend on Him, our creator and redeemer. It is not power that we worship, but it is love.
Readings for Sunday
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.
John 5: 1-9
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath.
Readings for the week ahead
Monday 23rd (Rogation Day)
Psalm 149: 1-5, John 15: 26 – 16:4
Tuesday 24th (John and Charles Wesley)
Ezekiel 2:1-5, Mark 6: 30-34
Wednesday 25th (The Venerable Bede)
Psalm 78, John 21: 20-25
Thursday 26th (Ascension Day)
Acts 1: 1-11, Luke 24 24: 44-end
Acts 18: 9-18, John 16: 20-23
Acts 18: 22 – end, John 16: 23-28