Tuesday, May 19, 2020

40 days since Easter

Some within the world church will know exactly what 40 days since Easter means. They will celebrate on Thursday!  Others of us may not!  In fact some us will be surprised how important this milestone is for many.  Yes, it's Ascension Day.  It's startling how important some Christians have regarded this event. St. Augustine reckoned that the Ascension of Jesus was the most important Christian Festival of them all - rated higher than Christmas and even Easter...
Without which the profitableness of every festival would have perished.  For unless the Saviour had ascended into heaven his Nativity would have come to nothing, and His Passion would have borne no fruit for us and his most holy Resurrection would have been useless.
That seems to go too far but the Ascension certainly is a vital piece of the story of Jesus - because it finishes the earthly journey with the mightiest of flourishes with the crowning moment of glory.  Miss the ascension and you miss the end of the story, the end of the journey, the triumph of the King.

Maybe some of us play this down because it's celebrated on a Thursday and our church doesn't meet. More likely there is lingering embarrassment that the ascension of Jesus suggests a world-view that heaven is just above the blue sky.  In this scientific age perhaps we feel uncomfortable to read 'he was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight'.(Acts 1:9).  We shouldn't be embarrassed. Because this story is not about space travel and the location of heaven. It's not here to support pre-Copernican ideas.  The Ascension of Jesus is not about where heaven is but WHO JESUS IS when human eyes last saw him.  And it's the cloud that shows us so much about what the event means.

Before we reach Thursday I need to think some more.

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