So, today is Ascension Sunday.
Since the 1960s (and perhaps earlier) we seem to have got hung up on the historicity or otherwise of the Ascension story. Clearly the photographs of the earth from space have proved that there is no physical heaven beyond the clouds into which Jesus ascended.
We have, therefore, thrown out the baby with this bathwater.
It seems to me, rather, that the Ascension is more like a "Where's Wally" puzzle - or perhaps a "Where's Jesus."
The early church, having proclaimed the resurrection, now has the difficulty of explaining how the particular human being, Jesus of Nazareth, is now the divine Christ, universally present in people of faith. So the Ascension story sets the church free to be the Body of Christ on earth.
Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die!
Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.
© Brian Wren (1936–)
So, this morning, we'll be playing Where's Wally.
And God declared it 'very good'
19 hours ago