17 - The Ascension

O sing to the Lord a new song

All        for he has done marvellous things.  Alleluia.

 

Bible reading – Acts 1:3-11

After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying* with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with* the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

6So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

 

Reflection

The disciples have still not completely got it.  They still have the old model of a Messiah in their heads.  They still want to know when he will restore the kingdom to Israel.  That is not Jesus’ concern, he is preparing to move them way beyond geo-political boundaries.  It is, though, time to bring an end to these post resurrection appearances.  The simple mechanics of his Ascension as portrayed in Acts don’t work so well in a space age cosmology.  Going up in a cloud does not mean much to a people who understand solar and planetary systems.  The cloud stands for the majesty of God and Jesus is being reunited with that majesty.  He will rule in the hearts and lives of his followers and in that kingdom is true freedom.

 

Risen Lord,

you reign in glory.

Rule in our hearts and lives

that your kingdom may be fulfilled.  Amen.

 

Response

            Sing to the Lord, bless his name

All        tell of his salvation from day to day.  Alleluia.

 

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