Welcome to St John the Baptist Church in Smalley, Derbyshire.

Ascension Day, Our Lives and a Child’s Joy

Rather embarrassingly I had to be reminded this year about Ascension Day (26th May). I mean, I knew Ascension Day would be coming along but I hadn’t quite registered when. Luckily Jane (very helpful Reader) noticed that I had booked that week off and wondered what would happen. Its all fine. A vicar’s week off is always flexible but it did make me wonder how it was that I had let it drift from my mind.

And I have to admit that it could be because as a child, (and we all still carry our child within us) I wasn’t keen. I wasn’t keen that Jesus should go. After all the joy of his resurrection and the beauty of resurrection stories like the road to Emmaus and breakfast on the beach, I had thought it much better that he should stay.

Actually I know, as an adult, that he did, he walks with us all, all the time. The Ascension means that Jesus, the best of man born of woman, becomes one with the great life force which surrounds and sustains us. Every moment in every place Jesus is present and there is nothing good which doesn’t spring from him and no sorrow or pain that he is not alongside. Our world bears witness to that. Extraordinary kindness, courage and generosity amidst grief and pain.

Both at an individual, national and global level. Whatever May brings us in our personal lives and in our cost of living crises, whatever it brings brave Ukraine, and all those suffering the effects of climate change, Jesus is present to all of it, suffering with those who suffer, forgiving with those who forgive, opening springs of love, bringing promise of resurrection. And indeed, as Jane pointed out, without the Ascension we wouldn’t have been sent the power to join in – the Holy Spirit. We wouldn’t have Pentecost (Date to remember Kate! 5th of June!)

This May – whatever it brings, be encouraged. Each time you do something good, particularly when the world feels dark, you are part of the unquenchable, eternal force that (if you choose and I would recommend it!) can be known in the person of Jesus.

And what of the child within me? Well the child or the soul is kept safe by that ‘Presence’, to wonder, explore, to learn and grow in the joy and cost of love. And this is good.

But the child also knows
and never forgets
and won’t be budged
that the best is yet to come,
and that will be,
at the last,
to see him face to face,
maybe even have breakfast with him on a beach.
(Though this particular child is hoping to not have fish!)

Rev Kate Plant


As a church we take safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults very seriously. If you have any concerns however small, please contact: the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser: hannah.hogg@derby.anglican.org 01332 388682 or the Priest in Charge: kateplant2610@gmail.com 01332 834928 or the Parish Safeguarding Officer: caroldavidson2808@gmail.com 07747 871560