And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 ESV)
Forty days after Easter we remember Christ’s ascension into heaven – with his promise that he would send the Holy Spirit. And so today marks the end of Eastertide, we extinguish the paschal candle and we wait in eager anticipation to celebrate Pentecost on May 24.
As I thought about the ascension and looked for poetry that would help me pray, I came across the William Blake poem ‘Holy Thursday’ (from his Songs of Innocence and Experience) which tied in so well with this season where we are exploring the ‘Justice and generosity of God’. An expressive reminder that we are in the ‘now and the not yet’ of the Kingdom of God.
And so today, we pray with gratitude and expectation this collect (BCP, 226)
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ
ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things:
Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his
promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end
of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory