by Carol Dixon
The time between Ascension and Pentecost in the church calendar always seems a bit of a
limbo to me. Easter has past and Jesus has ‘disappeared from sight’ as far as the disciples
were concerned, though they continued to meet and pray but what were they thinking? How
were they feeling?
I know how I feel in my ‘between’ times when I am waiting for things to happen – painkillers
for arthritis to kick in so I can continue to do my housework or to go to sleep, hospital
appointments to come through so things can move on, my blood count to rise so I can be
placed on the waiting list for the operations I need to make my life easier and less painful. It
takes faith to remember how God has worked in my life in the past and patience to believe
that everything will work out in God’s good time.
And that’s what the disciples seemed to be doing when they met in the upper room.
Remembering the wonderful time they had when Jesus was physically with them, pondering
on his mysterious words that he would send someone to be with them, and looking forward
to what great things would happen next. Using the time joyfully and prayerfully instead of
impatiently shouting ‘Why are we waiting?’
So as you live through this limbo time between Ascension and Pentecost here are a few
things to reflect on – a couple of imaginative Meditations and a Song.
May God richly bless you in your limbo times. and grant you hope, joy and peace.
On top of the world – A disciple reflects
I don’t really remember our journey.
It didn’t seem to take very long,
yet in a way, it went on forever.
We climbed higher and higher in a mist
then suddenly we reached the summit,
the sun broke through the clouds,
and Jesus was there with us again:
our world was aglow with glory.
We wanted to ask him all sorts of questions
and get some answers to help us make sense of it all.
All he said – as he had before –
‘I’m sending you out to spread the good news
of God’s love, to everyone, everywhere.’
It didn’t seem strange at the time,
it was afterwards we began to ask ourselves,
‘How can a few ordinary people change the world?’
Later he talked again of loving us,
of going back to his Father – who was our Father too.
I ask you, can we call the Holy Lord of all the universe,
whose name was too sacred even to speak, ‘Abba’ – Dad?
But because he said it, we knew it was alright.
At that moment we were bathed in the beauty of God,
the beauty that radiated from Jesus himself.
He was so aglow with God’s love he almost shimmered.
‘Don’t forget’, he said, ‘I am always with you,
to the end of time’; we could barely take it in.
Then the cloud came down on the mountaintop
And when it lifted, he was gone,
though something of his presence remained.
We see him all the time – in our mind’s eye,
in our hearts, in the depths of our being,
and, best of all – when we talk about him,
we see Jesus in others too: in each one of us,
© Carol Dixon 2016 [Published by Iona wild Goose publications who are happy for it to be used with a mention of them]
A day to remember
We crept into the Upper room in twos and threes
as usual not drawing attention to ourselves.
We had continued to meet on the first day of the week
to remember Jesus rising from the dead
and how he had met with us all in the Upper Room
after his resurrection, showing us his hands and his feet,
sharing our simple supper of fish and bread.
Peter was there – a new man since Jesus walked with him
along the shore of Lake Galilee – we hadn’t heard
what he and Jesus talked about, not then, but he
was different, lighter, as though a great weight
had been lifted from him and he was freed
from his shame of denying he ever knew Jesus,
so we guessed it was something to do with that.
He had a faraway look in his eyes too as though
he bore a great responsibility and wasn’t sure what
to do about it; and he kept looking at John surreptitiously.
As if on cue John came in, along with Mary, Jesus’ mother
who is with him most of the time now, her ‘extra’ son
they call him, and finally we begin.
We should have been full of joy – yesterday was Shavuot,
the festival the Greek Jews know as Pentecost,
the Sabbath when we celebrate Moses receiving the Law
on Mount Sinai, along with the blessing of the first fruits
which was one reason we were back in Jerusalem.
Yet we were subdued since this was the first time
we had met for worship all together since Jesus left us
to return to heaven, yet we obeyed his final instruction
to stay in the city to await what was next. What was next?
James, John’s elder brother started the prayer as usual –
‘Our Father’…. and we all joined in the wonderful words
Jesus had taught us when we asked him how we should pray –
‘Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven…’
and then it happened!
I’m still not sure how to describe it, only that there was
A strange, rushing sound, similar to wind rustling in leaves,
growing louder and louder, and I noticed light dancing
just above the heads of those across the room from me.
The top of my own head felt hot, like the warmth
of a candle flame and we all started talking at once,
praising God in ways we never had before.
Peter rushed to the door and threw it open,
running down the outside steps into the crowds
who were here for the Festival, dancing among them,
laughing and crying and embracing people with joy,
and we all followed – little wonder some thought
that we were drunk. The rest as they say, is history.
Then Peter stood on the steps and began to speak
about Jesus, of his life and death and resurrection
– how God sent him to save us and teach us
a new way of living in God’s kingdom, here and now.
A learned Rabbi couldn’t have explained it better.
People of all nationalities heard and understood
and asked to join us that day – the day
the Church was born at Pentecost, the day
the news of God’s love for all humanity exploded
across the world when Jesus’ promised gift,
the Holy Spirit, moved across the face of the earth,
and we became the new Creation, born to share
God’s grace and peace with all – It felt like a birthday party.
It still does. Come on in and join us!
© Carol Dixon 2023
Song for Pentecost (Tune Ode to joy)
Join in songs of jubilation
on this happy, holy day!
Join the glad commemoration
for the church was born today!
Friends are waiting, fearful, anxious,
gathered in an upper room,
watching, praying, listening, hoping
for the Lord to lift their gloom.
Hear the sound – surprising, sudden
mighty rushing wind so strong.
See the tongues of flame appearing,
flickering, dancing on each one.
‘God lives in us, live and active’,
let the joyful message ring:
‘Welcome Spirit, here among us’,
through the world your people sing.
© Carol Dixon 2011 (altd. 2023)
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