THE LORD’S ASCENSION
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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: 1-11)
Why are you just standing there, looking up into the sky? – the “men in white” ask the disciples. Your Boss is coming back, they remind the dumbfounded apostles, So you will be held accountable for the job(s) with which He has entrusted you, in the here and now: 1. To wait for the gift His Father promised (of the Holy Spirit); and 2. To be His witnesses even to the ends of the earth.
As we celebrate our Lord’s Ascension on this 40th day after Pascha, let me also be reminded of my God-given responsibilities, in the here and now, that I don’t just stand around, “looking into the sky.” Because my New Employer hasn’t “gone away” and left us, no. He abides in His Self-offering Spirit in our midst, calling us to open up to His “power” in our little daily responsibilities, to His greater glory. “Come and abide in us,” Lord, as each of us witnesses to You in his/her own way, in our various vocations.