This month on 26th May the Church celebrates Christ’s Ascension into heaven – an event that has always slightly puzzled me! Let me explain why.
Both the book of Acts and Luke’s gospel tell us that before ascending, Christ gathered his disciples together and told them that they were to be his witnesses – they were to go throughout the world and tell everyone about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
This was no easy task – and was made all the harder by Christ’s Ascension – his effective disappearance. He told his disciples to witness to him, and then as the main body of evidence to which they were to bear witness, he disappeared. Surely it would have been easier if he’d stayed! He could have showed others his wounds – worked miracles of healing – taught with authority – and done all this forever.
Why did he have to go?
Currently on our TV screens there seems to be a rash of programmes with titles like Tearaway Teenagers and Troublesome Tots. Such programmes usually seek to address the poor parenting methods of adults whose children have grown out of control.
One of the common problems seems to be that the parents of these troublesome children have not given their young ones’ responsibility – they have always done everything for them – and in so doing have spoiled them.
Through the Ascension God calls his children to mature – to start taking responsibility and to learn through getting involved rather than through standing by and letting Jesus do it all.
People often accuse the Christian faith of simply being a ‘crutch for the weak’. Christ’s ascension challenges such a view. Through it each of us is called to roll up our sleeves and ‘get stuck in’ and to play our part in being Christ’s body here on earth.
What responsibility, and what ‘learning through doing’, might Christ be calling each of us to so that we can better be that body
Yours in Christ,