RSS Feed

Easter 6



As the time draws near for Jesus to leave the disciples and ascend into Heaven he seeks to reassure them that they will not be left alone.  Very soon the Holy Spirit will come to them, entering them to be with them at all times.  The event we know as Pentecost.

After Jesus ascends into Heaven the world will no longer see him in human form, but those who love him and keep his commandments will be loved by him and by God the Father, and Jesus will reveal himself to them through the presence of the Holy Spirit. He says, ‘I will not leave you as orphans.’

I wonder how many of you listening have experienced the feeling of being orphaned? If we have had a loving relationship with our parents it is not uncommon when a second parent dies, whatever our own age at the time, to suddenly realise we are now orphaned. The reality, when we are older adults ourselves, is that there is no longer another generation caring for us, we now are the oldest generation of our family. There are, of course, exceptions to these feelings, possibly of abandonment, if roles have already been reversed and we have been our parents’ carer for some considerable time. Awareness of that responsibility is present and in some instances, depending on our parent’s mental health, their own behaviour has become more childlike.

If we imagine ourselves as one of Jesus’ disciples in our gospel reading we can empathise with their feelings of loss and fear of abandonment to come. They have been through turbulent events - Jesus’ crucifixion and death, the empty tomb, news of his resurrection from Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his companion on the Emmaeus road and then his appearance among them all. The immense joy of his being alive among them is now tempered with his talk of having to leave them again – what a roller-coaster of emotions. They were yet to witness his ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit when they would become so emboldened by that presence within them that these men, who had been hiding away in fear, would now go out into the world proclaiming the good news, speaking in tongues, and no longer fearing death themselves, as they now knew it was not the end of being, but one of transition to an eternal life reunited with Jesus and his Father in heaven.

This promise of eternal life is the bedrock of our Christian faith and it sets us apart whenever conversations about death and an afterlife occur, because what we have been given is HOPE. Hope in an everlasting life beyond physical death. That something we cannot see, yet believe in through faith. It is the core to our spiritual life, believing the whole Christian story, which is wonderful in itself,  but coming with the promise of life after death for us all achieved by Christ through his own resurrection and ascension.

So we do not have to be anxious as the time for his ascension draws near, we can celebrate it as the most important part of the story, because as Jesus takes his place in heaven with God the Father he opens the path for us to do the same, by loving him we are loved and all will be revealed to us. What a glorious knowledge to sustain us through this life, when so many human relationships seem so broken and our planet is in such pain, it means we can repeat, not just with hope but with confidence,  ‘Alleluia, Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!’            Amen.


  • Have we had those all important discussions with loved ones about death and dying?
  • Can we imbue others with the hope of eternal life with Christ?
Page last updated: Wednesday 3rd May 2023 10:40 AM
Powered by Church Edit