Saturday, 16 May 2015

17.5.15 Proclaim the Good News to all creation

The Ascension of the Lord (Year B)

Welcome again to a little liturgy.  This Sunday we celebrate one of the most important feasts of the church year - the Ascension.  It is as difficult for us to comprehend now as it was for the apostles who were left looking up into heaven.  I hope this week's activity will raise as many questions as answers!


Since the time of Jesus, we have made scientific discoveries that prove that heaven is not just beyond the clouds.  We know that God is not looking down on us in a literal sense from a place up in the sky. We do not understand exactly where Jesus went on the day of the Ascension but we can say that he went to be with the Father.  We also know that he intended for us to receive the Holy Spirit as a guide and inspiration when he had returned to the Father.  

In today's readings, we see that the apostles were still expecting that Jesus was going to "restore the kingdom to Israel".  However, he is "lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight".  Imagine how amazed and frightened they must have been.  It may be helpful for us to consider their confused expectations of Jesus.  We too have expectations of what God is like and sometimes of how he should behave.  However, we cannot create an accurate image of him because he is beyond our understanding.  When he does not conform to our expectations or behave in the way we would like or agree with, we are left much like the apostles; confused and frightened.  The best definition of God to turn to at these moments is that God is love.  


Find the lines in the Creed that state our belief in the Ascension.  Write them here:

Now consider the line, near the start of the creed, that states that we believe that God is maker of all things "visible and invisible'.  

We say both of these phrases in the Creed and therefore state our belief that things exist that we cannot see.  Jesus frequently refers to a place that we cannot see.  For example:

1.  Jesus says "my kingdom is not of this world" (to Pilate).

2.  Jesus says (to the good thief) "today you will be with me in paradise".

3.  Jesus says "my Father's house has many rooms".  

Try to write a sentence for each of these statements to explain what you think he meant.  Then write a sentence explaining what you mean when you use the word "heaven".  




For me heaven is .........

The idea of heaven is certainly very difficult to understand and many people struggle to believe that there is such a place.  As Christians, we believe that Jesus shows us that our earthly death is not a final end but a beginning of a new life with him and the Father.  He also shows us that we can share in some of that new life here and now by loving God and loving our neighbour.  

Finally, reflect on the first lines of the "Our Father" written out below:

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  

When you pray these words how do imagine God in heaven?  

I hope you have found something thought-provoking this week.  


Picture courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

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