Monday, May 10, 2010

Remembering the Ascension

In 1827, a volume of religious poetry and hymns was published called 'The Christian Year'. It was written by John Keble, a sensitive and pious man whose mind was continually occupied with the search for religious truth. He wrote poetry as a means of revealing the spiritual meaning behind everyday experiences. Keble was a leader of the Oxford Movement, a crusade to return the Anglican church to its traditional roots. He believed that the only truth was religious truth, and that anything that threatened to obscure that truth threatened the existence of man. Here is part of a lengthy poem from one he titled 'Fourth Sunday After Easter'.

My Saviour, can it ever be
That I should gain by losing Thee?
The watchful mother tarries nigh
Though sleep has closed her infant's eye,
For should he wake and find her gone,
She knows she could not bear his moan.
But I am weaker than a child,
And Thou art more than mother dear;
Without Thee heaven were but a wild;
How can I live without Thee here?

"Tis good for you that I should go,
You lingering yet awhile below" -
Tis Thine own gracious promise, Lord!
Thy saints have proved the faithful word,
When heaven's bright boundless avenue
Far opened on their eager view,
And homeward to Thy Father's throne,
Still lessening, brightening on their sight
Thy shadowy car went soaring on,
They tracked Thee up the abyss of light.

Thou bidd'st rejoice; they dare not mourn,
But to their home in gladness turn,
Their home and God's, that favored place
Where still He shines on Abraham's race,
In prayers and blessings there to wait
Like supplicants at their monarch's gate
Who, bent with bounty rare to aid
The splendor of His crowning day,
Keeps back awhile His largess made
More welcome for that brief delay.

John Keble 1792-1866

Jesus Christ ascended to heaven 40 days after Easter Sunday, so the event happened on a Thursday. In the United States, the Ascension usually is celebrated on the Sunday following that Thursday. This year it will be May 13.

Remember the angels told the disciples to look for Jesus to come again in the same manner he had gone away...

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