Had You Not Gone

Had You Not Gone

Tomorrow is Ascension Thursday which marks the fortieth day after Easter Sunday and is the day we remember when Jesus led his disciples out to the Mount of Olives, and after giving last instructions, ascended up into heaven as Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-14 record.

The practical, encouraging, benefit of the ascension is oftentimes missed. The Heidelberg Catechsim explains the blessing in Question 49 which reads,

Q49. How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?
A. First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our own flesh in heaven: a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven. Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

The Ascension early on in my walk with Christ seemed a bit anticlimactic. Though it seemed to be an important day in the Scriptures and in the Gospels and Acts, I couldn’t really understand how it could be better. The Heidelberg Catechism answer helps me some. Over the years, the thought that my life is with Christ there even as he is with me here has grown to be of great value. Enjoy your Thursday. He holds you fast as an anchor beyond the veil.

Had you not gone away, ascended on high,
You would have remained and still be here;
The tale of your rising, none deny—
Proof forever, age to age, year to year.
Had you not gone our faith would now be sight,
And seeing, believing, for all could see;
You could heal, stop hate, give wisdom and light
So why ascend? Why go? Why leave us be?
I must go, and bear what’s finished to heav’n
Take your life with me, hide you in love
From whence I’ll rule, sit in royal session,
Pour out my Spirit of fire from above.
Secure as an anchor, I hold you fast
For you’re with me now, till I come at last.

© Randall Edwards 2017.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: James Tissot  (1836–1902), The Ascension; between 1886 and 1894; opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper.

Hidden, He Hides Us

Hidden, He Hides Us

This sonnet is for Ascension Thursday and Ascension Sunday.

The sonnet is based on Acts 1:11: “and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Why leave us below after rising, rise?
Why fly away with so much undone?
Speechless with sadness, we stare at the sky
Answers blurred by our tears as clouds, the sun.

Ascending up into heaven he takes,
Our embodied resurrection into
Unlocking the door to the Ancient of Days,
The Treasure to whom all treasure is due.

Though our Lord is now by clouds hidden
He hides us in him that nothing separate
Neither rust, nor thief, even death unbidden
May remove him from us, alienate.
And more, if he goes he will at last send
The Counselor, Fire, the Living Wind.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: James Tissot  (1836–1902), The Ascension; between 1886 and 1894; opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper

Had You Not Gone

Had You Not Gone

This sonnet is is for Ascension Day and is based upon Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-14 regarding Jesus’ ascension into heaven on the 40th day after Easter.

The question why Jesus ascended is a worthy question. It seems that so much could have be dealt with and handled if he had stayed. Aside from his saying that it was needful for him to go so that he might send us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, it is important to see what his going means for us. Rather than grieving his departure, we may enjoy a deep consolation because of his Ascension. For though he is not physically present with us here, we are spiritually present with him there. Our life, as Paul says in Colossians 3, is “hid with Christ in God.” The author of Hebrews says that the reality of Jesus ascension is in fact, an anchor for the soul.

You may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

Had you not gone away, ascended on high,
You would have remained and still be here;
The tale of your rising, none deny—
Proof forever, age to age, year to year.
Had you not gone our faith would now be sight,
And seeing, believing, for all could see;
You could heal, stop hate, give wisdom and light
So why ascend? Why go? Why leave us be?

I must go, and bear what’s finished to heav’n
Take your life with me, hide you in love
From whence I’ll rule, sit in royal session,
Pour out my Spirit of fire from above.
Secure as an anchor, I hold you fast
For you’re with me now, till I come at last.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: James Tissot  (1836–1902), The Ascension; between 1886 and 1894; opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper.