On Thursday we remembered Christ’s return to heaven. It coincides, at least this year in England with a tremendous period of natural change. Spring is springing and leaves are unfolding, hedgerows are blossoming and bluebells are putting on a spectacular display in the woodlands. It seems that each day the countryside is changing. Only a few weeks ago you could walk through the woods and see the structure of the leaf-less trees, which have a beauty of their own. Now leaves of fresh green are making all that change, even though, in a way, nothing has changed – the tree trunks, branches are still there. And of course we all know the process will reverse in the autumn and repeat next spring.
However in a few weeks when we’ve got used to the new look of the world we won’t think much of the leafless woods, the structures and patterns of the branches, the textures of the bark and the anticipation of the new buds. It’s similar with our view of society; sometimes we take things just at face value assuming that is the natural status quo.
Jesus Ascension reminds us of God’s wider plan, that this world is part of a much larger change. It is from Jesus Ascension we can look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit and on to Jesus return. And like marvelling at the natural beauty of a bluebell wood at dawn we can marvel at God’s plan to restore us and the world. We are looking forward to the next stage of change, that of Christ’s return. Until that time, we can celebrate the triumph of Christ over death, and with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit continue to build the Kingdom of God on earth. This is a period of hope, celebration and rejoicing in change, in our natural world and ultimately in the victory of Jesus Christ our saviour.