DAY 64: Thursday 21 May
Good morning all
Today is Ascension Day (40th day after Easter) and whilst in our church tradition unlike more formalised denominations, we don’t normally make it a special event, we nonetheless do acknowledge that Christ’s ascension to Heaven is a key element of the Gospel story. We’ll come back to that shortly
‘Ascend’ is a word used in our language to signify ‘going up’, Yesterday afternoon as we sat in the garden, a large airliner was climbing into the sky leaving a white vapour trail behind. From its altitude my guess was it had taken off from Luton or London and its direction possibly towards USA or Canada. I noticed it because we have seen and heard relatively few in the skies over the past 10 weeks. Wherever the flight had originated, the plane would have reached the critical speed for take-off and then ‘ascended’ into the sky to eventually reach a cruising altitude around 36,000 feet.
We speak of ascending a staircase or escalator or going up in a lift in order to reach higher levels, and it is used to describe climbing a mountain. A time will come when a new sovereign will succeed the current and at that moment, again we use the term ‘ascending the throne’ even before any formal coronation ceremony. Announcing the winners in a competition will very often be in ascending order, and an ascending scale in music is where the notes go upwards. Sports clubs will aspire to lots of wins that will take them up the league tables and pop stars dream of ascending the chart to Number One.
We use language to describe success as ‘going up’ or ascending. Career path leading to promotion is considered to be ‘going up in the ranks’ or ‘climbing the ladder.’
Ascending a mountain to the summit will then be referred to as an ascent. ‘Songs of Ascents’ is any one of the 15 Psalms in the series Psalm 120 - 134 which were sung by Hebrew pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem or possibly while ascending Mount Zion or the steps of the Temple. They are also called Gradual Psalms, Pilgrim Psalms, Psalms of Ascents or simply Songs for going up to worship.
But the event celebrated in Ascension Day is, of course. the ascension of Jesus back to his Father in Heaven as recorded in Acts 1:9-11 -
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The following video also retells the story (sound volume is quite low so you may need to increase (ascend) on your device to hear) >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qBbr1D-OlU
Ascending is truly symbolic of success and in the case of Jesus returning to Heaven, it was certainly a mark of success over sin and death. He rose into the clouds in the most dramatic symbol of promotion and upon arriving back in Heaven, he was greeted and rewarded just as the prophet Daniel foretold in his vision around 600 years before –
Daniel 7:13-14 - In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
We can sing a triumphant hymn of praise to the ascended Lord >>> CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS
- Sheila was taken to theatre in the QE yesterday afternoon and underwent five hours of surgery before being returned to the ward.
- You may remember we reported last week that Jean Cussons had fallen from a chair at her Care Home. The paramedics did not detect anything broken so she was allowed to stay in her room at the Home but now she has been transferred to Heartland Hospital and a scan has revealed a triple fracture of the pelvis. Because of her age and weak condition and that they are fractures not breaks, no surgery is being proposed. We will keep you updated as we get further news.
- Vera hasn’t been feeling well for a week and yesterday called her GP for an online consultation. She has now been prescribed some medicine which hopefully will quickly resolve the problem.
- Apparently, Falcon Lodge Community Hub Foodbank have availability of food parcels to deliver to needy families. If you know of a needy family living on Falcon Lodge, tell them to contact the Hub.
MAKE YOU SMILE:
The Pope dies and ascends into heaven. St Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and welcomes him to the City of Gold.
"Pope, welcome. in return for your faithful service to the Lord during your time on earth, is there anything we could do for you?" The Pope replied "I spent my whole life studying the word of God, but it was always from the hand of man, and therefore could have been subject to human error. I'd like to know if you have original records of what God actually said to His prophets so that I may fully understand His will."
"Oh certainly, we have that for you. Follow me" replied St. Peter. The Pope was led along the streets of gold to a room with towering shelves filled with leather bound books and scrolls of ancient parchment. The Pope was enthralled and threw himself into this new project. He spent every day for the next several parts of eternity reading the words and gaining fresh understanding of God's plan.
But one day St Peter hears an anguished cry ring out from the room. He runs in to find the Pope sobbing and pounding his finger over and over on a single word.
"It says Celebrate! not celibate! The word was Celebrate!"