We have all been at airport lounges, train terminals, bus stations - goodbye places - and these can be all awkward and painful places. Goodbyes are hard to do with grace. Today the friends of Jesus stand in the terminal place, the place of ‘letting go.' Jesus completes his life with them. He says ‘goodbye'. Jesus allows them to know the empty space of bereavement, and He allows them to discover in that place the coming of the Holy Spirit. He sends them out into the world with a promise, 'I am with you always until the end of this world.'
The feast of Ascension is the feast of letting go. It is also the feast of waiting in the upper room for the Spirit to come. From the Ascension to Pentecost is the prayer of waiting. Yes, he is with us always to the end of time. Jesus now depends on us to be his witnesses before the world and this is a daunting task, but a great privilege also. The most effective way to witness to Jesus is by living our faith. The Ascension is an ending and a beginning.
In our Ascension prayer today we remember the people, who, like the friends of Jesus, stand in the terminal places of endings, of tears - those who keep vigil day and night at the bedside of a loved one - and the struggle of letting go.
We also remember those who stand in the terminal place of beginnings - and the struggle to embrace - those who are about to retire; those who try new things; those who dream new dreams.
It is the feast of all those who learn to let go and complete the past without the need to cling to it, in fear, bitterness or lack of forgiveness.
Spend some time reflecting on the necessity of letting go in your life.
How do you deal with letting go?
How do you embrace new beginnings?
How does your faith witness to Jesus in today's world?