Today is the Feast of the Ascension. I wish that I had more time to write about it, but I don’t.
What I will say is this… Imagine the unimaginable. That is part of the Ascension Thursday story.
Jesus dies and rises and all those who followed him were overjoyed. Now Jesus has spent this time among them in his resurrected form. What joy for those who believed and those who came to believe.
Then the day comes… and it seems that Jesus is gone. I can’t imagine what that might have felt like. Perhaps it seemed a cruel joke, perhaps it brought hope – and God knows what else.
I am more than a little bit obsessed with considering the days of the early church. We see through the lens of our own time, culture and experience. I will never be a First Century Jew or Gentile who followed Jesus – that much is clear. However, I do think about that a lot.
It seems like it must have been glorious to witness Jesus ascending into heaven, but I think it was also devastating.
Which reminds me that we are about to have nine powerful days of prayer ahead of us… In this time of confusion and potential devastation at having lost Jesus again, the Apostles and others were no doubt lost, confused, frightened.
Many years ago someone told me that these nine days between Ascension and Pentecost were a really powerful time of prayer and I agree. Jesus has ascended and we await the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So I invite you to join me in prayer for these days to come… A reminder that the unimaginable, the frightening, the confusing and the devastating gives way to hope over and over again.
Lest I sound flip… No, we all face horrors that will take us apart. And ultimately, we all have the hope of healing and redemption. Most of life takes place in the spaces in between these two poles.
And these days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost are just that.
It is unimaginable, and yet, it is what we must imagine and then live.