Ascension of the Lord (Year B). Acts 1:1-11
Many movies that we watch are sequels – the follow up to an earlier story. One of the things we notice at the moment is there are movies that now take us back to the origins to tell us what happened ‘in the beginning’ (Star Wars, Star Trek, X-Men). In beginning Acts, Luke is very clear to let us know that this is a sequel, the second part of the story of Jesus the Messiah – the Acts of King Jesus II if you like. And for Luke it is clear that this is more about the acts of Jesus than the acts of the apostles. Sure, at one level, this is the story of the early church. But it is also clear that Jesus is one of the central characters in the story, even if he is not always visible on the centre of the stage. We also quickly realise that we are not mere passive observers of the action that is unfolding – we are invited to be a central part of the action as well. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Acts has no real ending. Perhaps Luke leaves Acts with no great finale because he knows that the story will continue to unfold as we work through the grace of King Jesus in the power of the holy Spirit to bring and make the kingdom of heaven present in our world right now. Only then are we really living the reality of verse 8 – proclaiming the good news of the reign of the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth.
Only then do we discover the power of God’s continuing presence – represented by the cloud of God’s Shekinah that Jesus disappears into, reminding us that he has not gone off into space, but simply moved into God’s space, the place where the reign of God is always present – which we call ‘heaven’.
Recorded at Sacred Heart, Bomaderry (12’19”). Thanks to NT Wright!