Departure does not mean ending

I cannot explain away my faith; I cannot make it seem real to all people but I can make known something of the indescribable and the unknowable through other means like art, film and literature.

Today is Ascension Day – 40 days after Easter Sunday and 10 days before Pentecost. Ascension is one of the most difficult events of Christ’s activity on earth to grasp and fathom. To attempt to put this ‘happening’ into a theological context is to grapple with the human emotions of loss and recovery. Jesus leaves his followers in bodily form in order to share himself more fully through his Spirit. 

This evening I will be preaching on the Ascension of Christ. I have struggled with the readings from Acts (1-11) and the gospels. The best way that I have learned to bring meaning to Christ’s departure is by appealing to film, literature and legend. In particular, I wanted to draw out similar themes, emotions and actions which have been depicted through history of this action of ascension. You will need to come to the Eucharist tonight at 8pm in the Lady Chapel if you want to hear the full version but I will give you a teaser now. 

The movie E.T. demonstrates much of the disciples angst as Jesus leaves them behind. But the film enables us to understand that departure does not necessarily mean ending. The relationship built up between the child, Elliot, and E.T. is life-giving and life-changing. This relationship is beautiful, amazing and resilient.

I cannot explain away my faith; I cannot make it seem real to all people but I can make known something of the indescribable and the unknowable through other means like art, film and literature. This type of scavenging for the truth becomes a wonderful resource because it sets our faith into context. The Bible is at its most vibrant and dynamic best when set against other ways of seeing the world, like that of Elliott in E.T. Come tonight, remembering that Ascension Day is a day of obligation in our Christian year.

OTHER NEWS

The CATechesis Group

In the next three weeks we will be asking the question: ‘Is evangelism a dirty word?’ This question arises as we think about how we re-emerge and engage with our community after lockdown. Clare will lead these sessions and she will try and unpick some of the theology behind the meaning of evangelism. We hope that some of the outcomes to an open discussion on this subject may well lead to a greater ownership of discipleship (not just by the clergy); that we may all bear witness to our faith with confidence; that we may be more reassured about the church’s presence in the community.

Do come along, we meet on Zoom from 7.30pm – 9pm. We begin with a short bible reading and exploration before we focus on the main theme. You do not have to be a cat owner to come (!) or a theologian. This group is for all people who are inquisitive about the Christian faith. Here it is – simply press the underlined blue link and join us for chat, laughter, thought and prayer: 
StM&AA’s Summertown is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.Topic: CATechesis Group Time: May 18, 2021 07:30 PM Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/99330983259?pwd=K3R3UitQOXhWcFZFcHlXTjMwYnc3Zz09 Meeting ID: 993 3098 3259Passcode: 139348

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM)

This will take place immediately after the 10am Eucharist this Sunday. This meeting is designed for parishioners to voice their joys and concerns about the church’s mission and ministry. The meeting will be necessarily brief this year and we will continue to exercise our Covid safety measures. The finances will be presented in both print and as an in-person report. All the documents have been published and shared out. These reports will be available throughout the next weeks and months.  

I would especially like us all to share some time in thought and prayer over the coming weeks about how we as a church would like to emerge out of lockdown. What should we be focusing on? What might we wish to disregard? Can we build a common vision for the next few years? What might this vision look like and what will it ask of us as individuals and as a body corporate? Your response to these questions is essential; we are in this as one family, seeking a sense of togetherness – all ages, all stages, all people.

Upcoming Services

Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.