A few years ago the Iona calendar featured a picture of “the wave”. Nothing to do with the sea though it was not far away.
It is a tradition of the Iona Community that all available staff and volunteers congregate at the pier to wave off the week’s guests on the ferry to Mull. And in turn of course all the departing visitors wave back.
For some, whether on sea or land, this mutual waving continues beyond the point at which the respective parties can see one another, perhaps because strong bonds have been created and have grown during the six days in which we live together in community, whether in the Abbey or MacLeod Centre.
Of course even without “eyeball” each side knows that the other continues to exist, and perhaps you might find this a helpful analogy when it comes to considering the ascension of Jesus.
“When he had said this, as they watched, he was lifted up, and a cloud removed him from their sight.” (Acts chapter 1, verse 9)
As the writer to Hebrews puts it: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” (chapter 13, verse 8)
If you registered to be part of Thy Kingdom Come, which has just begun, you may have watched today’s service online.
One of the readings contained this verse from Ephesians: “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, may give you the spiritual powers of wisdom and vision, by which there comes the knowledge of him.” (chapter 1, verse 17)
We need those powers if we are to be able to make any sense of something as mysterious as the Ascension.
And we need faith to believe in things we cannot see.
One of the hoped for consequences of praying for five friends during the eleven days of Thy Kingdom Come is that we will deepen our own relationship with our Saviour.
If that happens, then perhaps the Ascension will seem less mysterious, but no less awesome.
In the meantime, the sound of massed voices, singing “The Hallelujah Chorus” in a virtual choir, in a service for Ascension Day to be broadcast at 8.00 this evening on BBC Radio 4, may lift us a little higher . . .
Watch the clip here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08dtmz8