Heaven and earth are only three feet apart,
but in the thin places that distance is even smaller.
A thin place is where the veil that separates heaven and earth is lifted
and one is able to glimpse the glory of God.
For as a cloud received Him from their sight,
So with a cloud will He return ere long:
Therefore they stand on guard by day, by night,
Strenuous and strong.
They do, they dare, they beyond seven times seven
Forgive, they cry God’s mighty word aloud:
Yet sometimes haply lift tired eyes to Heaven—
“Is that His cloud?”
~Christina Rossetti from “Ascension Day”
Stretching Himself as if again,
through downpress of dust
upward, soul giving way
to thread of white, that reaches
for daylight, to open as green
leaf that it is…
not have been
as the return
from Sheol, and
back through the tomb
now must reliquish
as Man –
Eye of Eternity.
Mothering His birth:
torture and bliss.
~Denise Levertov “Ascension”
We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .
~Malcolm Guite “Ascension”
Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 49
Q. How does Christ’s ascension to heaven
A. First, he is our advocate
in the presence of his Father.
Second, we have our own flesh in heaven
as a sure pledge that Christ our head
will also take us, his members,
up to himself.
Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth
as a corresponding pledge.
By the Spirit’s power
we seek not earthly things
but the things above, where Christ is,
sitting at God’s right hand.
It doesn’t matter what you have been or what you have done. It doesn’t matter how flawed and foolish you are.
When the eyes of God the Father look at you, they see the ascended Jesus; when they listen to you, they hear him.
When God looks and listens to you, he sees and hears infinite beauty . . . He sees Jesus not sitting at the right hand but standing on his behalf, advocating for him.
Jesus is not on sabbatical from His earthly flesh; this day of observance of His ascension to heaven forty days after His Resurrection reminds us He remains flesh, just like our flesh, while sitting at the right hand of God the Father – our representative, our interceder, our advocate.
The clouds that veil that thin line between earth and heaven still can’t help but shine with His glory. We remain directly connected by our flesh/His flesh to God in heaven.