We had a great service on Thursday evening at the little parish Church at Shute. It was a beautiful evening, the sun shining and the sky clear, the view of the valley from there was lovely and as I drove to the service I could see the sea down the Axe Valley. I did get to do that drive twice, as I left my sermon at home in my study, fortunately I had arrived half an hour early, and as the Vicarage is only five minutes drive away had time to get back and pick up the aforementioned sermon.
I think it was worth driving back for! The full text is as New Kid Deep Stuff, my companion blog to this one, and here is the starter...
Ascension Day (2009) Eucharist
Goodbye, God bless
Ascension day seems a funny day to celebrate. A strange time to have a feast (which of course our Communion is here this evening)! Because, if you think about it, it’s a celebration of something quite difficult.
Have you ever had that feeling of saying goodbye to someone that hurt so much it made you ache? Sixteen years ago Jo and I, who had had an on-off relationship for a few years, found ourselves living in London and York, and at the end of a weekend together we would have that awful goodbye as one of us got onto a train to leave our respective cities. It was probably this ache, this loathing of separation that meant that she came out with the best proposal ever – oh well, we might as well go for it then.
I’m sure for all of us we can understand that pain, perhaps in a smaller or greater degree. Saying goodbye to someone we care about, letting go of them and trusting for both their well-being and the well-being of your relationship with them can be difficult.
It should, to a certain extent, have been the same for the disciples, having had the pain and despair of losing Jesus which was replaced by the joy of the resurrection and the days they got to spend with Jesus afterwards, they were again losing him. Ok, so this time there wasn’t the agony of seeing him suffer, nor was there the same kind of fear that they had experienced before their encounters with Christ – the fear of being caught, the fear of dying, perhaps even the fear that it might all have been a waste of time. But at the same time, Jesus was leaving, and they had no idea when he was to return. There was the promise of his return, but though they hoped for its immanence they had no date, no time, and no firm promise that it would even be in their lifetimes [more]