I have been playing some of the Ascension hymns on the organ. We hail the day that sees Him rise and (should) sing Alleluia. It is a sort of coronation for the Risen Christ who is now to sit at the right hand of God with all things under him. These sorts of visions stir the soul and demand at the very least a sung response – but sadly this year we won’t be singing these hymns in church (and may not sing any hymns for a long time because singing is apparently worse for spreading the virus than coughing).
We are invited today to share a mountain-top experience with the disciples as Jesus leaves them. Someone has written: "it is a feast of mystery and infinity. Ascension is our word for what is beyond our understanding: Christ our Risen Lord cannot be contained within the frame of our human perspective.” I suppose a sceptical person would say this was a sort of cop-out – an excuse for having a faith which is like a fairy story. But inevitably there must be a “beyondness of things” (title of one of the albums of the composer John Barry) in trying to understand spiritual things of the magnitude of the Ascension.
We see a symbolic link between the Cross and the Ascension which is implicit in Jesus' words when he says, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (John 12:32) On the Cross, Jesus is glorified. When he ascends, he ascends to reign in glory.
Jesus brought God to us, and he now takes us back to God with him. That is a source of inspiration and hope. We now await his sending his Holy Spirit at Pentecost (31st May). This you might say will be another feast of mystery and infinity.