26th May 2022

A reflection by Revd Stephen

We celebrated Ascension Day this week, the day in the Christian calendar when we especially think of Jesus returning to the Father having fulfilled his earthly mission. As the Apostles’ Creed says, “He ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

As I write this, I’m looking forward to watching the Champions League Final on Saturday evening, in which Liverpool take on Real Madrid. Perhaps the most famous final was the one in 2005. It has become known as the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’! Liverpool were up against Milan. 69,000 people were in the stadium in Istanbul and many more were watching around the world.

Only fifty seconds into the game and Milan had already scored.  By half time it was 3-0 and Liverpool seemed dead and buried.  But it was only half-time. On fifty-four minutes Liverpool scored. A glimmer of hope! Two minutes later it was 3-2. Could there be an impossible comeback? On sixty minutes Liverpool equalised and at full time it was hanging in the balance at 3-3. Extra time passed and so it went to penalties. Milan scored 2, Liverpool scored 3 and so against all the odds Liverpool lifted the trophy! The miracle of Istanbul was complete!

So it was that the triumphant Liverpool team returned home to be greeted by crowds of rejoicing supporters. It looked like a dreadful defeat, it turned into a glorious victory, and the victorious were welcomed home triumphant.

Jesus was dead and buried, but that was only half-time! Now the risen and victorious Jesus will be welcomed home. As Peter put it on the Day of Pentecost, “God has made him both Lord and Messiah”. And the disciples are told that though Jesus is leaving them now, he will come again. He has won the decisive battle, he is now Lord of all, and one day he will return as Judge and King. And so, we learn that when he returns, the history of the world as we know it will reach its intended destination. The King will arrive, and his kingdom will come.

Jesus is Lord!