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20 May 2016

All change

All change

Lynda Davies is senior digital producer at the BBC

It's all change at the moment. Boris left City Hall, Peggy Mitchell left EastEnders and if the latest polls are anything to be believed, about 45 per cent of the UK want us to leave the EU.

Leaving something familiar is always an unsettling time. Whether it's of our own choice or an unfortunate inevitability, the absence of something once cherished causes us to reassess what we hold dear and question what the future holds. 

A couple of weeks ago the Church celebrated Ascension Day, when Christ was taken up to heaven in front of the disciples. This saviour, who has fulfilled everything that had been promised in the scriptures, triumphed over the ruling authorities and defeated death on the cross, is "taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight". You'd probably be a bit bewildered if you were there and the note that they "continue to look intently at the sky" suggests as much.

Jesus had previously told them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the gift of a 'holy spirit'. Apart from that, it could have felt very much like they were now on their own with the daunting task of being witnesses to the end of the earth.

We face many times when something important has gone away and we are unsure of how to get on without it. London is waiting on the promises of Sadiq Khan and for him to become the 'Mayor for all Londoners' that he dedicated himself to being on the campaign trail. Die-hard EastEnders fans are wondering whether it's worth turning the telly on now Barbara Windsor has well and truly got out of her pub. But these are fallible humans with their earthly limitations. Jesus made good on his promise.

Instead of being confused by Jesus' bodily absence, the disciples trusted him and worshipped with joy when the puzzle was solved 10 days later. The Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost 'like a violent wind', caused bystanders to think they were drunk at 9am and needed Peter to explain what was going on.

Jesus had to leave before many people truly understood what he was about. It took being reunited with his father for the disciples to fully comprehend the gifts, blessings and promises he'd talked about so often. They knew once again that Jesus was who he said he was, reigning in power at God's right hand and saw the results of this in their growing number.

Change is often unwelcome, with many of us fearing the unexpected. However the life of Jesus affirms to us his faithfulness and that despite his physical presence leaving Jerusalem, his Holy Spirit has equipped his followers to do more than they ever thought possible.

We don't know if the message of the EU referendum on June 23 will be one of leave or remain, how the Mitchell's will cope without their matriarch, or what other changes we may experience in the future. However we know for certain that we can never leave the kingdom of God. And that's the only constant we need.

Image: CC Chad Cooper