Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 21st May 2020: Ascension Day: 1

Holy Spirit Acts 1 Judea Disciples Jesus Ascension Heaven

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 1

Ascension feet in sky

'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.' When Jesus had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'

(New Revised Standard Version)


Today we celebrate the Ascension of Christ, as He returns to the Father, before sending the Holy Spirit to be with His disciples. The funny little picture attached to this reading is a photograph of a piece of stonework or pottery showing Jesus' feet appearing below a cloud. There are many such images in churches (often in stained glass), showing Jesus appearing in mid air with the disciples watching Him ascend into Heaven. In the early and medieval world heaven was seen as being up in the sky, and hell below the earth, so angels and God are seen above, and sinners are dragged off by devils down to hell.

This day is a major feast day in the church's calendar, and as a child I certainly remember having the day off school, at least after we had been to church for our Ascension service!

We have many words and phrases in our language to indicate this idea, and since heaven is above so words or phrases that use up, often indicate something good, while down means the opposite. For example:

  • Important people go up to the top table.
  • On a plane we can be upgraded to a better seat.
  • A person rising in their profession is seen as up and coming.
  • Up-town is seen as better than down-town.
  • Someone is down and out, when they are on the streets.
  • Uplifted is a good feeling.
  • A downfall can be bad.
  • Being downcast is not good.

Where do you think Heaven is, and what might it be like?
Thursday 21st May, follow up thoughts


Risen and exalted Christ,
we celebrate today your ascension into heaven,
to your rightful place as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
May we never forget all that You have done for us
and continue to praise Your name for ever.

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