A Reading from Acts – So when the disciples had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
This past Sunday, as I was worshipping, we got to hear about the ascension of Christ. And perhaps it is because we hate goodbyes, or perhaps it is because we’d rather God lead us by the hand, or maybe because being a Christian is hard, but whatever the reason, we this story is just hard to recall as one of the greats. I mean, Jesus’ Ascension is not as known as say Christmas, Easter, or even Pentecost. And yet this story has a HUGE impact on who we are as God’s people. And I say that it has a HUGE impact because the commission of the disciples truly begins only when Jesus leaves. The time for them to learn and listen and appeal all things to Jesus has past. Now is the time to take what they have learned and figure out what to do with their experience of God’s presence, life, words, and salvation.
And their reaction is to stare star bound wondering when Jesus is going to return. They are trying to wait it out for Jesus to come back. So an angel comes to them and tells them to quit staring and to go on with their lives, and their ministry until Jesus comes back. And that is something that hits home for me. We are a people taught and shown God’s way in Jesus. And there will come a day when God comes again in Christ, and yet, until that day, we get to live out the love that Jesus has shown us. We get to quit staring at the sky and begin to be prophets in word and action of God’s good news for all people.