TWO-WAY TRAFFIC BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH - HIGHWAY OPENED ON ASCENSION DAY c.AD29; HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS MADE ON 13th MAY 1917.
One of the more-annoying aspects of living in this part of Hampshire in the 2021 Post-Brexit period was losing a stretch of the good, helpful five miles’ Dual Carriageway between the Alresford Roundabout and Winchester. Why did we lose it?
To make way for a lorry-park, to ease congestion at the South Coast Ports.
What had been a “redemptive” piece of road to ease our passage efficiently and quickly to Winchester from rural, slow-paced Hampshire, was annoyingly restricted to 30mph, with sporadic and fickle traffic-lights that always seemed to be on red, and you just knew you were going to follow the one driver in the County who has never travelled above 17 mph!
There was much-rejoicing when Hampshire County Council realised it had wasted an awful lot of money in creating this ludicrous space for just half-a dozen lorries a day. All was back to normal in a matter of weeks, and two-way traffic, with the opportunity to overtake the aforementioned slowest driver in the County was once again restored.
TODAY WE CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF
TWO-WAY TRAFFIC BETWEEN EARTH AND HEAVEN.
The "reason for the season"? The Ascension of Christ,
one of my favourite feasts of the Lord, with these wonderful promises -
"I will not leave you comfortless"....
"Wait in the city to be clothed from on high"....
"I am with you always, even to the end of time"....
‘The Ascending Christ opened the way through to the Kingdom of Heaven,
with the promise that those who follow Him
would find the highway unrestricted and unimpeded.
From what is said in Acts 1, it is made clear that the highway
accommodates Two-Way traffic, to and from the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.’ Acts 1
“This same Jesus will come back”…. is one of those topics I try to avoid in preaching, as it is heavily-weighted with the theology of the Second Coming, of which I have little understanding. Perhaps I don't want to understand, because it sounds as if I might find myself under judgement for committing "highway offences", the judge who might point out to me when my behaviour has been a bit more goat-like rather than "sheepish" (Matthew 25).
Every time we say the Nicene Creed we repeat this statement of faith:
“He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. ….”
Just as He ascended, so He will return. How, when and where, who knows?
Today has, to my mind, a divine coincidence about it.
On May 13th, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, three young children were going about their normal daily routine, tending their family’s sheep
Out of nowhere “A Lady, all in white, more brilliant than the sun… indescribably beautiful,” stood above them, and appeared again to them on the 13th
of each month until October 1917.
When it became known that Our Lady would visit the children for the last time on October 13 that year, with a sign that would convince the world she had appeared, nearly 70,000 people journeyed there, many prepared to dismiss it as rubbish, but all
witnessed the sun perform some frightening displays, which gave credibility to the previous apparitions the children witnessed.
The secrets revealed to the children in these apparitions of Our Lady included:
1. A prophecy of the outbreak of World War II;
2. The prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity in the very year of the Russian Revolution (the Bolshevik revolution that year in October 1917, only days after the last apparition)
3. The vision of “a Bishop clothed in white,” who “falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a hail of gunfire. On May 13th, 1981 a gunman attempted to kill Pope John Paul II, who credited Our Lady of Fatima with his protection on that day, her day.
TWO-WAY TRAFFIC – Jesus travels the highway TO the Kingdom
to clear the way for us;
Mary makes the return journey to place warning-signs to guide us away from danger whilst we travel that same route.
Mary, the first to travel the highway to the Kingdom,
who was assumed to be with Her Son to intercede on our behalf.
Mary, the signpost along the Highway,
the one to guide us safely towards her Son. PHNC.
Grant us that, persevering in penance and prayer for the salvation of the world
we may further more-effectively each day the reign of Christ.
Collect - Our Lady of Fatima.
Risen and ascended Lord Jesus, When we are numbed by the suffering of the world, Take us back to the deep truth Of your power and glory, Of your invincible Kingdom, Of your promise of reconciliation. In the knowledge of this truth, Help us to bring our gaze to earth And find the strength to go into the world, to do your will on earth as in heaven. To build the kingdom of God On earth as it is in heaven.
from the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website.