The way Luke tells the story
in his two-volumed tome,
the ascension and resurrection of our Lord
was really the one event,
neatly book-ended by the two men
dressed in dazzling white
who sneak up suddenly beside the disciples.
I presume that the need for two figures
is to avoid the possibility that, if there were only
one, he might confused with
the risen Lord himself.
Handy with their rhetorical questions,
the men become a useful literary device,
proceeding to explain to Jesus’ followers
what is really happening.
The ascension is an awkward story, really;
necessitated by a physical resurrection,
and the subsequent need to dispose of a body.
This, in turn, is required by Luke and Matthew
to give apparent substance to the reality
and wonder of divine presence, experienced
long beyond the days when Jesus walked
and worked and lived among them,
recklessly living out his message
of all-conquering love. It is experienced
still. John does not concern himself
with the ascension, and Mark,
at least in his shorter ending,
is prepared to settle for the ambiguity
of an empty tomb.

© Ken Rookes


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