Today Christians celebrate the Ascension. The moment that Jesus, who had risen from the dead, ascended to heaven.
Now there's a bunch of words that Christians use, but what do they mean?
Yesterday my sister and I went to my Uncle's funeral. I haven't seen much of his family over the years, yet we were warmly welcomed. The funeral was conducted with gentle, quiet dignity in the local Roman Catholic church and then at the cemetry for his burial.
It was at the burial that the words said at the funeral meant most to me. The words were of family; 'our brother', 'God, our Father' ....
Even though I struggle with using gender terms for God - I appreciate the words from the book of Genesis when describing the creation of humanity .. "So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" - it is our language that is limited. In God is all humanity, all creation.
So, even with the limitation of human language, I felt that kinship, the sense of God being close, embracing us at this moment of departing.
At the cemetry we were embraced by the trees that surrounded the site. Large, majestic trees, clothed in vibrant green and, for me, I was surrounded by heavenly splendour.
Risen, ascended? For Christians this is part of the message from God - we can all be part of the heavenly glory, the death of our human bodies is not the end.