“And a cloud took him from their sight.”
Friday, 21 May 2021
The Gospel of Mark gives us an account of the Ascension. We are told that Jesus was “taken up into heaven” (16:19). The book of Acts also provides us with an account of the Ascension – it tells us that “a cloud took him from their sight” (1:9).
There are a number of times in the Scriptures when clouds indicate important events. Think of the cloud when Moses went up Mount Sinai or the cloud that shrouded Jesus and the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. All of these were moments of intense intimacy with God. Clouds, in the Scriptures, tell us that there will be an intimate meeting with God, and we should pay attention to that meeting!
The cloud that wraps around Jesus at the Ascension tells us Jesus himself is being drawn into an intense encounter with God the Father. And because Jesus is drawn into this intimacy with God, so too are we because he shares in our human nature. This intimacy with God is different. Jesus himself, the Son, opens the way for us to share in an intimacy that is unheard of in salvation history. We have to do nothing. The initiative now is God’s. Jesus is in God’s intimate presence, and because of this, we too find room in God’s presence forever. Jesus lifts us into that presence.
But that is not all. Jesus also gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. This coming Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the outpouring of God’s Spirit on all creation. We live in a universe that is animated by the Spirit of God, a Spirit who invites us daily into a consciousness of God’s intimate presence.
Take some time today to recall “cloud moments” in your life – times and places you have experienced intimacy with God. How aware are you of the work of God’s Spirit in your daily life? As we await the great feast of Pentecost, ask yourself how you can better allow the gift of God’s Spirit to animate your life?