I started writing this on Ascension Day and couldn’t help but recall that someone I knew said that this was ‘the day Jesus started working from home’!
It seems to me that it has been a long 40 days since Easter this year, due to the lockdown, but the current situation has helped me to appreciate how it might have been for the first followers of Jesus. They were filled with uncertainty but had signs of hope – for them, meeting the risen Lord Jesus, but they were still not sure of the future. And for Christians that remains the present reality too.
We’re still not sure when church buildings will reopen for public worship – and when they do, I think we need to be prepared that things will be very different to how they were before this pandemic. It’s possible that broadcast services will remain, so that those unwilling or unable to attend can still be fed spiritually, and while lacking the closeness of fellowship with others, the same risen, ascended Jesus will meet with us whether we are in church, or in our homes.
Because that’s what the Ascension is all about. Jesus really did start working from home. But unlike us this meant he was no longer limited by what makes us, and him, human. Before he ascended back to his Father in heaven, he gave to his troubled friends several promises.
The first was that they would receive another helper, another friend – The Holy Spirit – one who is like Jesus, but whose presence would reassure them once he had left. The Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost 10 days after Ascension and 50 days after Easter, which this year is the 1st June.
Second, he promised eternal hope. Jesus promised to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house – what an amazing image of eternal life. A place where we will be known and will know both God and our loved ones. This crisis has caused many of us to re-evaluate our lives, and for some this has meant regaining faith and trusting in a loving God, one who is close to us even when we at the moment have to be separate from others.
Jesus completed his work on earth, returned to his Father, and now, each and every day, gives hope to troubled hearts. Please do hang on to that, and remember I am here for you – practically and spiritually – don’t hesitate to call me on 01293 514976 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
With blessings and prayer