Thought for the Week
by Paul Summers, assistant priest, St Peter's, Addingham
RECENTLY my eldest brother and my sister-in-law came up from their home in Oxfordshire to take me out to lunch. On route to Addingham they'd come via north Leeds wanting to take a look at our old stamping ground.
My father's last parish in Leeds was a place called Potternewton, now caught up in the area better known as Chapeltown. It was an interesting area in which to be a teenager and whilst I have fond memories of the church and its people I also have some rather fearful ones of the general area. It was here that my brother met his future wife. She was the leader the church Cub Pack and had been obviously disturbed by the condition of the area where we'd grown up. Did she want it to be as it had been in the late 1960s and early 70s, I wasn't quite sure, though I do think there was a certain amount of rose tinted glasses as she spoke of her sadness at what she'd seen Things change, situations change sometimes for the good and sometimes not. It's what's going on now that matters, not what has been and it set me thinking.
Forty days ago an amazing, outstanding and almost unbelievable event had taken place. A man from Nazareth, Jesus by name, had been arrested and tried on trumped up charges, stripped, flogged and Crucified. Then three days later his followers were proclaiming that he was alive, that he'd risen from the tomb and nothing would be the same again!!
Today, 40 days on from Easter, the Church celebrates the Ascension.
In the open countryside of Galilee Jesus meets with his disciples and there before their eyes he is lifted bodily into the clouds and out of their sight. Now he told them this would happen but that didn't mean they'd be ready for it, and they weren't.
However we have this sense that we should always be ready and able to cope when life bowls us googlies, why? Is there anything wrong in accepting that there are times when we're not as strong, not as in control as we might want to be. The disciples had to learn it from others. Why? They were asked are you standing staring up into heaven. Didn't he charge you with a mission, to go and make disciples, not just stand around feeling the warm glow of what was, what had been but to have the courage to forward in the knowledge that He is with you and will be with you until the end of time. What was has been and gone, what is to be is our concern now. God bless you and with Him may you have the courage and the strength to move forward in confidence.