Friday, May 06, 2005

So NOW what?

"...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:7-11, NIV)
I sat here, Thursday evening, trying to imagine being one of the "men of Galilee" at the Ascension, and wondering this simple question: what would Steve have said?

The first answer wasn't real inspirational - something about "Holy...." and then something else that wasn't, quite.

The next couple answers I came up with weren't much more inspirational, I'm afraid. I think my first urge would have been to yell something along the lines of either "WAIT! COME BACK!" or "NOW what are we gonna do?"

And I guess that's where I'd probably have landed as an apostle, at least for a while. You see, even a quick reading of the Gospels points to Jesus as the Energizer battery of the apostles. Jesus was teacher, a combination of shepherd and border-collie, and source of power, strength, name it. He led them for three years, right up to the cross. He died, and left them for three days, and everything stopped. The apostles were afraid, and ready to run back to their toll booths and fishing boats. And then Jesus rose again, and it was all good - for forty short days.

Until, of course, "he was taken up before their very eyes."

Sure, Jesus has just promised them the Holy Spirit - but how's THAT going to happen, now that he's gone? Huh? Huh? Can't you just hear them?

I think it's important to look at this scene through my own eyes, and remember that the first leaders of the church were very human, very prone-to-forget women and men. And it's important for me to realize that Jesus chose these folks intentionally. Not because they were spiritual Goliaths - but precisely because they weren't.

Why is it important to keep this in mind?

Because something - something BIG and POWERFUL - transforms them from slack-jawed guys staring into the sky, wondering what happened, into the powerhouse preachers and evangelists that changed the world, sixteen short verses from now.

That is the power that is available to each and every one of us - the Comforter, Counselor, the very Spirit of God promised to us by Jesus. That power is available - to us as individuals, to us as congregations, and to us as a Church universal. How's THAT for good news?

Lord God, let me feel that power, and trust in that Spirit, as I go about my day today. Help me remember that of myself, I am nothing - but the Holy Spirit can be the wind in my sails, to move me through any storm. Left to myself, Lord, I would still be staring at the sky, waiting. By your Spirit, keep my eyes on this world - the world you came to redeem, the world we are called to love and serve. Amen.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Great Stuff!