Message from Bishop Robert, 24 May 2022

Published: Tuesday May 24, 2022

Bishop RobertThe feast of the Ascension which we celebrate on Thursday has become rather overlooked in recent years. Where once schools would close to allow children to attend church and the community would come together to celebrate, the day largely gets lost in the middle of an ordinary working week. In our churches, it is overshadowed by Pentecost which follows 10 days later and more conveniently on a Sunday morning! This is a pity. Ascension and Pentecost play off each other and we lose the significance of one without the other.

The Ascension marks the end of Jesus’ physical ministry on earth as he is taken from the view of the disciples. Having promised the gift of the Spirit to come, Jesus is carried up into heaven. It marks a moment of deep meaning. Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, he has told stories and pointed us to the Kingdom that he comes to bring, and now we see the ascension of Christ our King. That which was local and time-bound becomes for all places and for all time. Luke tells us that after this the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. I suspect, if we are honest, they were also still a little perplexed. In their joy they must have wondered what this all meant, having been with Jesus through his ministry, this trial and crucifixion and his resurrection only now to have him taken from their sight again.  There is a promise, but it is not yet.

Our experience is not dissimilar. We have lived the darkness of Holy Week, of abandonment, and have rejoiced in the resurrection, we have heard Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of justice, mercy and peace, but we know it is not yet. Our experience, all that surrounds us in our community, our family and friends, our world shout out – all creation groans. In our joy in our Easter faith, we are left still, like those first disciples, wondering.

Like those first disciples, we also do well to remember that Jesus’ ascension comes with a promise. God does not abandon his people, this is what we have learnt on the cross and in the dawn of the Easter morning and now with Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Spirit, we are encouraged even in our own troubles and perplexity to place our trust in God, for God is faithful.

Jesus ascends, Christ our King, and we are citizens of heaven with Jesus even as we await the promised gift. In this, we find the courage to live our faith even on a Thursday of an ordinary week, confident and expectant of what God is doing and ready to act for our King as we seek to be people of Good News, builders of the Kingdom to which we belong.

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2 thoughts on “Message from Bishop Robert, 24 May 2022

  1. Thank you so much Bishop for a truly encouraging message. These are challenging times and it’s good to be reminded that the Lord ascended despite all Worldly signs to the contrary.

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