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21st May 2020

By Dennis Abbott - Posted on 21 May 2020

 Between Good Friday and Pentecost- 53 days. 53 days of uncertainty for the disciples. They probably released a bit of the tension they must have felt when they encountered the risen Christ on the third day, wherever that was, but there were still 40 days until the day we celebrate today. Christs ascension, and there yet 10 more days until the holy spirit descends onto the apostles at Pentecost. All that waiting to see what would happen, whether Christ’s promise would come to fruition.  So, we might ask: 'Where was Jesus during the forty days after his resurrection, when not with his disciples? The Gospels contain the answers to this question. They describe how on Easter Sunday evening, having eaten with his disciples, Jesus told them they would be his witnesses, and was carried up into heaven. During those forty days, therefore, Jesus I believe was already in heaven, from where he returned, repeatedly, to speak to his disciples. The actual Ascension event was a powerful confirmation of the exalted status Jesus already possessed. To where did Our Lord ascend? Not to outer space, as if we could reach him in a rocket, although some sensationalist authors would have it like that! Remember Erich von Daniken and his factually incorrect Chariots of the gods book in 1968? Authors of the Scriptures knew they must use imagery to express realities the human mind cannot comprehend. Jesus' body, crucified and raised, does not belong in our known universe, but through God's saving power - the Holy Spirit - enters this universe so that we too may journey to glory, following Jesus.  So, let me put this waiting into some context. We entered full lockdown on March 23rd. I make that 60 days up to today. We are still waiting for release into what is being described by some as a “new normal”. I think the disciples went through a similar process to that we are going through. They had to experience and adapt to a new normal when their Lord, our Lord, their teacher, our teacher left. We have the benefit of knowing that our new normal, whatever it looks like will always have Christ close to us. He doesn’t need social distancing. He is in our hearts and on our minds all the days of our life. Amen