We couldn’t have imagined that as the holy feast of Ascension would be celebrated this year that our minds would be filled with those images of children and young people running for their lives and the news reaching us that a number of them had been killed and a greater number injured. That we should see as the feast comes about this year with our own eyes a wave of terror in that concert hall and parents waiting for their children and young people who would be running to them for fear of their lives. As mentioned at the weekend the world in which we live has the power to beam those images to us, into our living rooms, onto our phones, on our laptops, on our ipads. The shocking horror is there to see.
This feast is supposed to be about the triumph of the Lord. The one who has overcome the world. The one who redeems the world by the mystery of his death and resurrection and ascension. The one who gives the deepest answer beyond politics, beyond science, beyond everything. Who heals the deepest part that is broken in human bones and in the human spirit.
The ascension is meant to be the final piece in the jigsaw, that the Lord Jesus returns in glory to the father from where he came. His work is done, the things asked of him are finished, he has done all that the Father asked and willed of him.
Today doesn’t feel like victory, it doesn’t feel like we are winning. It doesn’t feel that good is overcoming or that grace is triumphing. It feels like we are stepping back to primitive and barabaric days.
We believe that the final and ultimate victory has been won but the work of the crucified, risen and ascended Christ goes on. He continues to seek to heal, to forgive, to redeem by love every individual that lives and every age that comes and passes.
His work is not fully done, the world is a redeemed world and yet it is still a broken world. He continues to be our mediator in heaven, continues to mediate on our behalf, continues to send the spirit upon us, so that the work of salvation may be continued.
The prophets of doom would want to say that this is an ugly world, a world that can never be different that can never be any better. That human beings can never be saved can never be redeemed, can never be healed, can never be improved.
Left to our own devices it would seem to be the case. But not so with the redeeming power of Christ that we rely on, lean on, depend on and need.
We sense some of this in the days that have followed the atrocity. People met that wave of violence with another wave more power, the power of love and oneess and support. What is stronger at the end of the day? What would you rely on, the former or the latter.
We rely n the Lord’s mighty power that comes down from heaven. The Lord’s grace that floods the world. The wave of his mighty love that cannot be quenched and cannot be stopped. We cannot but see this as a work of the spirit.
We believe that God is in our world despite the cruelty. That he is unravelling knots. That his spirit is mightier than the cold and dark acts of violence. The Lord who has overcome the cross and the tomb and banishes every human darkness. Christ who mediates for us at the right hand of the father day and night, age to age, person to person brings light and hope.
He mediates for us at the right hand of the Father. His works are seen in grace and goodness. His works untie the misery of the world and redeem it. His plans cannot be frustrated or overcome, his work of saving and redeeming the world goes on. His work cannot be undone.