Do you remember Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth'? In one scene, a high profile member of the Sanhedrin enters the tomb of Jesus and finds it empty. The expression of dismay on his face is spectacular as he mutters to himself, "Now it begins".
The Gospels say, now it continues. But how do we make sense of, or find words, for something that is completely new and outside of our experience. Image and Symbol come in handy, but sometimes hide the truth that is revealing itself. The language of heaven and kingly courts is extremely unhelpful, but we cling to them even if we couldn't really explain to anyone who asked what they mean! Does the Ascension mean that Jesus goes up and if so to where? And how do we fold His promise, 'to be with us always', into our understanding of His apparent up ness and His departure?
The Resurrection stories make it clear that He is with us in a new way. Magdalene cannot find his body, yet she hears Him call her by name. The lads on their way to Emmaus don't recognise Him till he lights a fire in their hearts at the sequel to the Last Supper. Even the Apostles, don't get Him till he drenches them with the Spirit.
Far better to experience His Ascension by meeting Him where He is. Here is a fine example of feeling our way to this from the Poem, 'Know Yourself' by Paul Murray (The Absent Fountain, Dublin, 1991)
There is a world within you no one has ever seen,
A voice no one has heard, not even you.
As yet unknown, you are your own seer,
Your own interpreter.
And so, with eyes and ears grown sharp for voice or sign - Listen well -
Not to these words but to that inward voice,
That impulse beating in your heart like a far wave.
Turn to that source, and you will find
What no one has ever found,
A ground within you
No one has ever seen,
A world beyond the limits
Of your dream's horizon.