This reading was written for an Ascension Day service years ago, but as that season is coming around again I dug it out realised other folks might like to use it! It tries to dramatise the action of Jesus' Ascesion, from the point of view of one of the disciples. There is so much rich theology attached with Ascension day which we often miss out entirely, and some of those themes are woven into the script. For some reason, in my mind I heard the disciple talking in a Northern UK accent, hence the voice on the recording, but you could perform it however you like! Thanks to Dominica Buckton for doing the original reading, and Dave Mander for help with the mp3.

Ascension Day Dramatic Reading
Sam Hargreaves. Based on Acts 1.

Whooosh! Just like that! Like a rocket, Zoooomm, that's how he went! Better than any fireworks I've ever seen! Wheeeee! And we were watching to see where he was going when a cloud came across, and, well, that was it. Gone. Ascended.

I didn't want him to go. He'd already left us once, and that was awful. We just didn't know what to do with ourselves, we moped around, fearful for our lives, fearful for our sanity. I mean, he was our hope, we'd left everything for him. And he had promised that he would never leave us or forsake us. So when he died, what did that mean? Wasn't he who we thought he was? Was he a fake or a fool, or even a fiend? So many questions and doubts. We needed him, he was showing us the way, the way to be human, to live without the legalism of the Pharisees or the rule or the Romans. But it was just those things, the rules and the rule, which caused his death. I just didn't understand.

Then he came back. He came back! Who has ever come back from the dead! (Well, except Lazarus, and that little girl, and... er, well, perhaps I should have trusted him a bit more.) Anyway he rose again just like he said he would. And he gave us convincing proofs he was alive, showing us his wounds and eating fish and everything! I mean, ghosts don't eat fish, do they? And he spoke to us about the Kingdom of God, and it all started to make sense, all that stuff we'd heard before but hadn't really grasped until, well, until he'd died I guess.

One time when we were eating he said "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."

I got all excited and said "Lord, Lord are you are this time going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?"

He looked at me in his way which means "you haven't quite got it yet, have you?" I'm getting used to that look.

He said "It's not for you to know the times and dates the Father has set for his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Whoooosh! Zoooooom! Gone! Ascended. Before I'd even had chance to ask him what he was going on about. And we are all standing there looking up into the sky like a load of ninnies, when we hear a voice

"Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?" Fair question I guess. They must not have see the Whooosh! But now I think about it they did look pretty amazing themselves, all white and shiny, like people from heaven.

They said "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

I looked at my watch and was about to ask if they could give an estimated time of return, but they had already gone.

So here we are back in Jerusalem. We are praying and waiting, waiting and praying, and I can't say I'm not excited about the coming of the Holy Spirit, whatever that might be. But to be honest I'd rather Jesus came back himself. I need him. No one knows me like he does. No one shows me God like he does. But I guess even more than that the world needs him. Israel needs to be restored, God's Kingdom needs to come to this world, and Jesus is the only one to do it, I really believe that. But I'm worried that not one Jesus would be enough, its like we need God to send maybe 100 or 1000 little Jesus', going around and spreading his Kingdom. Little Christs, empowered to do his work. We can't do it, we are useless. Come on God, we need your help!

© Sam Hargreaves/