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The Tension of the Ascension - a thought from the Rector

And just like that, the Lord left this earth. Up he went. Into the arms and heart of the Godhead. And what did he leave behind. Dumbfounded, the disciples are left looking upwards And as their necks inevitably ached Along with their incredulous hearts, And eyes strained by the sunlit sky Their eyes were brought downwards again. For a moment they must have looked around. All around. And seen what we all see. The dirt of the road. The human-ness of humans. The grinding tension that persists between good and evil Day in and day out. Night and Day. There is a tiny poem that I am rather fond of And I read it every Christmas whenever I get the chance: Light looked down and saw darkness, I will go there said light. Love looked down and saw hatred, I will go there said love. Peace looked down and saw war, I will go there said peace And so the Lord of light, the love of God and the prince of peace went down and crept in beside them. This tiny poem reminds us every Christmas that God saw all that we see and came down be with us in it. More than that He came down to share in it with us, and offer us a way through it. I wonder then where we are left when we hear of Christ ascending to the Father and leaving those disciples on the ground looking upwards for a while, then back to casting their eyes downwards. Maybe the same poem could be re-written for The Feast of the Ascension? Light came down and saw darkness, I will take that said light, Love came down and felt hatred, I will take that said love Peace came down and knew war, I will take that said peace. And so the Lord of Light, the God of love, the prince of peace, Took it all back up, right into the heart of God. What a comforting thing this is for those of us who feel sad. Ours is not a distant God who came and looked around and then left us all to it. Instead, this God of proximity, transcendence and immanence, took it all up into the Godhead, So that we may know that the tension we are all left with, struggling with, enduring and lamenting, is also being held right there - at the very heart of it all. What do we do then with this knowledge? Well, we do what the disciples knew to do, We draw ourselves into this nine days of waiting, in prayer, in hope, and see what God does next - we wait for the coming of His advocating, comforting, consoling Spirit at Pentecost.

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