Ascension, 1408 (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)

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JESUS AND HIS WANDERING BAND sought to bind as one family the whole of humankind. Painting mind-pictures (without benefit of written word) in the lives of all they encountered, Jesus and those he commissioned to ministry left a great deal to the imaginations of all those who longed for a better world.

The works of restoration and healing they’d brought about were to be surpassed by those who’d witnessed them. And the gist of the Message is that in the mind of God no one is to be left out; no one to be left comfortless; no one called upon to engage in life’s ministries in isolation. “The Spirit will teach you everything”. But first the disciples – the learners – are to “stay in the city until you are clothed with the power from on high”. Luke 24.49

There’s some waiting to be done. Some patience to be prayed for. And – as W H Vanstone would have it – there’s stature in waiting. “Stay in the city” is the word. Stay put enough, and stay quiet enough, often enough, to allow the day to dawn when people of every race and language come to see that the New Pentecost of God is Family Gathering. Human Family Gathering. “Wait in the city”. Or was that “Pray in the city”? Until you grasp his meaning. Until “though parted from our sight” his Spirit settles upon and within you. Until, albeit unseen, you know he’s standing right in front of you. Wait. Reach. Ascend.