The lifting of restrictions

May’s Magazine is here to view in full.

O how we’ve longed for the month of May! The pandemic lockdown restrictions have weighed heavily on us. The third lockdown has been harder to endure and perhaps aggravated by finding it more difficult to get out during poorer weather. There is no substitute for being with those we love. We’ve felt starved of human contact with family and friends. What was once just normal socialising has now come into focus as a real treat! As Easter was celebrated the blooming of spring flowers reminded us of the new life that only God can give.

There is an even greater lifting of restrictions to celebrate during May when we remember Jesus’ ascension. The risen Jesus said he was returning to the Father’s side and would continue to be at work as our great High Priest. So, having paid the ultimate price for the sin of the world – by his death on the cross – Jesus Christ is now risen and exalted to heaven. He grants the gifts of repentance and forgiveness of sins and the abiding presence of his Spirit. The previous restrictions of having no access to the holy God have now been lifted! All has changed! Access is possible!

In Hebrews the writer outlines the consequence of this living relationship: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12v2). Jesus has blazed a trail for his people. He provides us with a model to inspire our steadfastness in the face of difficulties and even opposition. It assures us that even if God disciplines us, he does this as our loving Father in heaven so that we might become more like Christ. It gives us renewed energy to work at relationships with others as part of a life dedicated to God, who is our judge. This gives us motivation to serve God our great redeemer, knowing that His eternal kingdom is unshakable and glorious.

As we remember Jesus’ ascension, the lifting of the ultimate restriction, let’s be thankful for the full access that he gives and the blessings he pours out on his people.

Paul Kingman