This morning started very early - not because I needed to be up for some dawn service but because the birds outside the window were just too loud to ignore.
For a few moments I toyed with the idea of driving to Oxford, Tewkesbury or anywhere else where that I might find a choir greeting the day atop a church tower, but common sense prevailed. Given the rest of the day, I'm still not sure whether this was a Good or Bad decision. It might have been wonderful - but so was the extra hour of sleep, which I probably needed more than a burst of "Coelus Ascendit Hodie".
The day went on.
Morning Prayer was one of those times when you can hear the laughter of the Liturgical Commission as you dart back and forth through the book, needing every single one of the numerous ribbons provided - and still coming seriously unstuck with navigation. In fact, I stopped and prayed aloud something along the lines of "Dear Lord God, if you know where we ought to be in this service, I'm sorry because I'm sure we're not there but I hope you realise we're trying really hard...."
After that, of course, it was hard to take anything seriously!
There was work being done on the church alarm system, which meant that there were numerous ladders about the place, - and I did wonder if one or more Little Fishes might be tempted to try the Ascension for themselves, thus...(in the event, they made do with the pulpit)
It's sad that Ascension is such a forgotten feast.
This year, few people chose to observe what was in my childhood (and I'm not really as old as I feel tonight) a major feast, deemed worthy of a day off lessons.
I fully understand that it's never going to make it onto a list of festivals suitable for adoption by Hallmark - and, as it lacks both candle-light AND chocolate, it's not a great candidate for the list of "come and see" services. Even within the church, it's just not popular. When I was hunting for an interesting prayer for the day, none of my funky, non-liturgical, knock-you-out-with-the- beauty-of-the-vision books had anything at all. They just leap straight from Easter to Pentecost, which says quite alot about the difficulties people have with Ascension. Too many visions of toes vanishing into the clouds, I guess - enough to deter anyone with a grain of common sense.
But surely to goodness, what we're celebrating is rather more exciting and real than a dodgy medieval wall painting...
Nobody is actually expecting us to haul ourselves up to heaven by our finger-nails (not even grumpy curates, who are feeling that the weight of the whole church rests on their arthritic shoulders)
Nobody is sitting with a tick-list noting which holy days of obligation we've decided not to bother about.
But if we're trying to live and rejoice in the Kingdom, Ascension is a good time to celebrate that.
I'm just saying...