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In the Chapel sanctuary is a beautiful window depicting the Ascension. It is one of the windows crafted by William Wailes, who crafted most of the windows. They are admired for the bright colours. The window captures something of the Ascension of Jesus, as described in the book of Acts (Acts 1: 6–11). Jesus is described as ascending into heaven, until a cloud obscures him from the disciples’ sight.

If we work on the assumption that the Gospels writers were trying to tell us things through the use of symbols and metaphors, as well as describing events, what was Luke, the author of Acts, trying to tell us? Surely this account of Jesus ascending into the heavens is also a symbol of something else – it’s not just about Jesus ascending into the sky.

Luke is trying to tell us, ‘no longer is Jesus limited to one place, one time.’ No longer is he confined to one place and time: first-century Palestine under Roman occupation. Even though we have more information about Jesus than most people from his time, without the Ascension, Jesus was a good man, who was stuck in a relatively unimportant province of the Roman Empire and who died a criminal’s death around the year 30 AD. However, with the Ascension understood, that all changes. Now Jesus transcends time and space. Now he is available to be our friend and companion, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, at whatever stage of life we find ourselves. The friend whose stories I enjoyed as a young boy, listening to my father read the Gospel reading in his powerful voice each Sunday morning, is the same figure who was present with me in my teenage years here at Saints, and is the same figure whose presence I am actually aware of sometimes these days. I won’t lie to you: I don’t feel his presence with me in every single moment, but sometimes I do.

As the author of Acts, Luke was trying to tell us something extraordinary with the Ascension: no longer is Jesus confined to one place and one time. He is above all that now: he hears our prayers wherever we are; he comes to us whenever we need him. Jesus is all around us, he sees everything, he hears everything, and he comes to us in the hour of our greatest need.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain

Ascension window in the Chapel.