Plan B

Note: Ascension Day, commemorating the belief of the bodily ascent of Jesus into heaven, one of western Christianity’s ecumenical (i.e., universally acknowledged) observances, on par with Palm Sunday, Easter Day, and the Day of Pentecost, traditionally falls on a Thursday, the 40th day after Easter Day.


Jesus led his disciples to Bethany, and, while lifting up his hands, blessing them, withdrew from them, being carried up into heaven (Luke 24.50-51; my revision)

In ancient legend, at Jesus’ ascension, the heavenly hosts – angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim – gather, welcoming his return home. The angel Gabriel asks, “O Son of God, what have you done to continue your work on earth?” Jesus answers, “I have disciples whom I called to learn from me. Now, as apostles, I have sent them into the world to preach and to teach.” Gabriel, alert to a potentially serious, perhaps fatal flaw in the plan, frowns, “Including Peter who denied you three times and all the others who fled at your crucifixion?” Jesus, his voice hushed with calm, replies, “Yes.” Gabriel, deeply perplexed, asks, “O Son of God, what if they, having proven to be frail and fearful, forget and fail? What then?” Jesus answers, “I have no other plan.”

Though a myth, the tale bears the truth that all who follow Jesus as Lord – surely, as human, sinfully frail and subject to fail – are the bearers of his message of God’s unconditional love and justice. And, for two millennia and counting, Jesus’ Plan B remains.

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: Ascension of Christ (1893), Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939)

2 thoughts on “Plan B

  1. Happy Sunday Paul! I’ve read this several times… each time I was glad there was plan B because we need to recognize our Plan A may not work. I suggest all the time that caregivers have a back up plan for their strategies…just in case. Given Tim’s birthday on Friday I always say I had no backup plan for Tim dying and that Team Veney caring for Mom was no longer in place after his death… YET my plan B turned out to be my St Mark’s support group who held me up for almost 2 years including helping with Mom. So I think Plan Bs are a requirement but I also wonder given that Jesus was relying on some somewhat unreliable people if there should also be a Plan C? Just in case.



  2. I take your point, Loretta, about having in readiness a Plan C. Nevertheless, as I understand it, Jesus was/is God’s Plan A and we, his followers, are his Plan B. In relation to your comment on the post “Imagine” regarding our sisters and brothers in great and grave need, it is clear that we, his followers, for two millennia and counting, have not accepted our role in Plan B. May we repent.



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