The Ascension is the name given to the moment when Jesus Christ is taken up into Heaven forty days after the Resurrection. It is a scene that is difficult to imagine in this modern world.
Art helps. We have so many images of the ascension in our churches, our museums, and of course online. Just as Jesus leaves instructions to evangelise and baptise, he rises into the sky. The disciples would have been bereft at watching their Lord leave them, and astounded at the marvellous sight of him being taken up into Heaven. It must have been glorious.
A few years ago, I remember watching a magician levitating at the statue of Christ in Rio on television. It was visually astonishing, yet clearly a trick. A large man in a blue baseball cap stands next to him the whole time, probably disguising the small lift that’s slotted into the magician’s shoe. He’s also providing ballast. An amazed crowd provides further camouflage to his method. I’ll never forget how impressed I was at the time; not so much now.
A trick like this would have been impossible in first century AD. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and we believe in the Resurrection, then why not the Ascension as well? As amazing as it must have been, why not? Once we have made the decision to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, anything becomes possible. His ascension gives us hope for our journey to Heaven.
Jesus Christ leaves us wih the assurance that he is with us always. We have to trust that in these final moments on Earth, he is showing us the path to the Kingdom of God. We can follow if we choose.
Readings for today: Acts 1:1-11 Psalm 46 Ephesians 1:17-23 Matthew 28:16-20
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