God is gone up… now we wait.

The Revd Hannah Cartwright


If the Ascension (which we celebrated on Thursday), were to have a soundtrack, for me it would be Finzi’s ‘God is gone up with a triumphant shout’ with its gloriously outrageous organ part, and some wonderfully ‘scrunchie’ vocals to really transport the hearer to the very gates of heaven which it bids be flung wide-open.

But once the music reaches its crescendo, and the last chord rolls down the nave… we are left with an unusual silence.It is the silence of waiting.

Full of the joy and hope of Easter - but also bereft of the tangible presence of the One who brought it all to us. We are left in what feels like a lingering pause, waiting for a new song to begin.

As Christians we spend a lot of our time waiting through the liturgical seasons of the year; but this short period between Ascension Day and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, though brief, is a period of critical importance as we prepare to receive the Holy Spirit of God afresh in our lives. We, like the Disciples, must sit with both discomfort and anticipation, while we wait to be given our new song to sing.

We must resist the urge to leave our seats too early, or distract ourselves with all manner of worthy tasks. It is not initiative we need to be able share the Good News we have received, it is discernment through the Spirit at work within us which will guide, teach, and empower us as we seek to hit the right notes and hear the Gospel resonate through generations to come.

So before we are sent, first we must stay, and find the confidence to inhabit the next nine days as the Disciples did (Luke 24.49); in a posture of praise, and committing ourselves to the only thing one can do while waiting: pray.