Our title is that famous quote by Isaac Newton that refers to gravity, but there is also the famous riddle that plays around with that idea and asks…
‘What goes up and never comes down?’
There are various answers people like to give to this question, to make a point about the issues in life that they object to, like taxes or fuel prices. The answer really being ‘your age’.
As we move into May we are still in Easter Season but will also celebrate two special events this month, that of Ascension Day (10 May) and then Pentecost (20 May). Ascension Day is when we have the story of how Jesus did go up and some might say did not come back down. He disappeared from their sight and we enter that nine day period where the disciples were left bereft.
We read in Acts 1: 9 how Jesus was taken up from their sight into the cloud and they are left looking up to heaven. Jesus went up and did not come back down and Ascension is about celebrating Jesus going back to being seated with God in heaven, wherever that might be. At times we may feel like the disciples that day, that we are left looking into clouds and unable to see or feel God’s presence. Faith is about having such times in our lives and they are to be seen as a natural part of discipleship, not a failure as we sometimes perceive it. Times of waiting for God.
The disciples are told to stop just staring into heaven but to go and anticipate God coming to them in some new way. And so they return to Jerusalem and give themselves to prayer. We are being invited to join in the national initiative of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ between Ascension and Pentecost this year: to dedicate ourselves to prayer in those nine days. A booklet has been produced by the Methodist Church called ‘Waiting in Wonder’ and are available at church or can be viewed online. A wonderful resource of images, bible readings and prayers to inspire us at this time. Please look out for them and use them.
Because Isaac Newton was right – what goes up does come down. As our prayers go up we will see them answered and blessings coming down in the form of strength to continue, hope to trust in, love to warm us, peace to comfort us, challenges to move us. And we will be ready for Pentecost where we discover that Jesus did not go up and not come back down but went up and came back down in another form that means God is with us and in us always.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes into your life. You will tell about Me in the city of Jerusalem and over all the countries of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 New Life Version)
May we know God’s blessing in all the ups and downs of our lives.