Thy Kingdom come
"While he was blessings them, he left them and was taken up into heaven." Luke 24.51
Watching Grayson's Art Club on Channel 4 last night was perhaps neither the most respectful way to honour Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee nor the most reverential way of marking the eve of the Lord's Ascension. In my defence, neither was my motive for this indulgence. Rather it was the thrill of witnessing the wife of a school-friend being recognised for her creative genius: well done, Pauline!
Which brings me to today... Ascension Day: culmination of the liturgical year, celebrating the crowning glory of Jesus in his mission to earth, as he ascends the throne of heaven in triumph over sin and death. The manner of his departing, however, is a clear hint that his work on earth is not complete. "While he was blessing..." conveys the sense of a continuing action. Indeed Jesus is still blessing us in the person of the Holy Spirit and he left us with the promise that he would return as he left, to bring heaven to earth and blessing us into the New Creation.
That makes Ascension the hinge of the present and the future. Surely no accident then that, in his 2-volume account of Jesus and the Church, Luke features this event twice: at the end of his Gospel and at the beginning of Acts. Just as on the occasion itself there transpired a 10 day season of anticipation between Ascension and Pentecost, so today begins a 10 day season of prayer under the banner Thy Kingdom Come, when Christians around the world and throughout the Church will pray together in reflection of Jesus' first coming and in anticipation of his coming again...