Don't look up, look forward

"... why do you stand there looking up 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. 11

Jesus disciples apparently couldn't take their eyes off him. He had defied everybody's worst fears and exceeded their greatest expectations (though they couldn't quite get their heads around it all just yet). Being transfixed by something or someone wonderful is not an unfamiliar human experience: it happens when lovers gaze at each other, or when a climber is confronted by a glorious view. We lose ourselves in the moment, which is wonderful. But it cannot last.

Jesus' ascension was certainly worthy of the disciples' attention then, as it is worthy of our attention and worship now. After his teaching, healing and preaching and then his suffering dying and rising, this amounts to both a triumphant vindication of Jesus and to his coronation: as King of Creation and Lord of all!

So, why do the angels hurry on the disciples - and us? Initially it is because there is more to come: Jesus' return both in the person of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and in all his majesty at the end of the age: to judge the world and to usher in the New Creation. And it is also because they - and we - have work to do: being witnesses for Jesus: at home, throughout our nation and whoever the Lord will send/ take us.

It's raining and the midges have arrived. Yet nothing can dampen the glory of this day, nor the brightness of what it promises. The way to banish our fears, the way to fuel our expectations is to join the disciples - for a moment - in their wonder and praise. Then to heed the angels - for the future - in their wisdom and urgency.

"Na rudan seo tha mi air a ràdh ribh airson 's gum faodadh m' aoibhneas a bhith annaibhse, agus airson 's gum faodadh ur n-aoibhneas-se a bhith làn." Eòin 15. 11

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