Saturday, 4 June 2011

Ascension Day: Sky Gazing

Peter Lockhart

The image of the disciples, standing around staring into the sky like a bunch of stunned mullet, after Jesus ascension is a strong one.

Jesus had died! Jesus was risen! But Jesus is gone again!

The sky gazing disciples, having once again missed the mark with their question about the restoration of Israel, are in the quagmire of asking, "What do we do now?"

The answer to this question of "What now? What next?" is helped along the way by the appearance of 2 men who ask the disciples what they are looking up at the sky. In their words we hear the reassurance that although Jesus has gone, Jesus will come back, in his own time, so off with you now and be about the task Jesus has left you with, become witnesses!

The rest of the book of Acts is the unfolding of what the disciples did next as the Holy Spirit was poured out on them and as they grew into the apostles Jesus had sent them to be.

There are times when I think many of us are still standing with mouths agape looking at the sky waiting for Jesus to come back, for Jesus to do something more. As followers of Jesus and as people sent into the world to witness to God's love revealed in Jesus I think we need to hear that same question "What are you doing standing here staring into the sky?"

It is the question which gives us the nudge to act and so not to simply wait for Jesus to do something else but in faith to go forward as witnesses to our risen and ascended Lord.

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