May 29, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we stand with the disciples, straining for a last look at Jesus as He ascends into heaven. Their hearts are stretched with both joy and pain at all that is happening to them. They long for the Holy Spirit to come to them even as they mourn the physical departure of Christ.
As mentioned in Thursday’s reflection, many years ago I was blessed to stand in the Chapel of the Ascension, a small shrine on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Tradition holds this to be the site of Jesus’ Ascension. Inside is a well-worn rock with a slight indentation. Many venerate this as the last footprint of Christ on earth.
Whether or not this devotion is valid is unimportant. In the hush of my early morning visit to this shrine, the Holy Spirit embraced me, overwhelming me with an awareness of how the disciples felt that day in the absence of Jesus.
Many reading this may feel a similar absence, a need, or a longing for God. Perhaps by touching that sense of absence, that indentation in the rock of our hearts, we may invite and welcome the Holy Spirit to fill our need.
Poetry: Ascension Day by Christina Georgina Rossetti
“When Christ went up to Heaven the Apostles stayed”
Gazing at Heaven with souls and wills on fire,
Their hearts on flight along the track He made,
Winged by desire.
Their silence spake: “Lord, why not follow Thee?
Home is not home without Thy Blessed Face,
Life is not life. Remember, Lord, and see,
Look back, embrace.
“Earth is one desert waste of banishment,
Life is one long-drawn anguish of decay.
Where Thou wert wont to go we also went:
Why not today?”
Nevertheless a cloud cut off their gaze:
They tarry to build up Jerusalem,
Watching for Him, while thro' the appointed days
He watches them.
They do His Will, and doing it rejoice,
Patiently glad to spend and to be spent:
Still He speaks to them, still they hear His Voice
And are content.
For as a cloud received Him from their sight,
So with a cloud will He return ere long:
Therefore they stand on guard by day, by night,
Strenuous and strong.
They do, they dare, they beyond seven times seven
Forgive, they cry God's mighty word aloud:
Yet sometimes haply lift tired eyes to Heaven—
“Is that His cloud?”
Music: Abide with Me – Matt Maher