Ascension Day was on Thursday. Traditionally it comes 40 days after Easter. It is a day on the church calendar that keeps tracking the major events of Jesus. Next Sunday is another one, Pentecost Sunday. For our Zoom gathering on Sunday consider the Scripture lesson below from the book of Acts.
So when they 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 towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards 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.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
- Considering the first bolded sentence above, does it bother you that Jesus keeps his disciples ‘in the dark’ by not answering their question?
- The second bolded sentence is a promise. After this promise comes a ‘time out’, a ‘recess’, an undetermined ‘period of waiting.’ It seems like COVID-19 has pushed us all into a similar ‘recess’ of time. For you, what is it like to be hoping for the pandemic to be over?
- The last bolded sentence sounds like what any pious people should be doing, ‘constantly devoted to prayer.’ But consider the setting in the scripture above; what they thought should happen didn’t (restore the kingdom to Israel) and they are left with a ‘promise in waiting’ instead. What is it like to pray while waiting?