While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward 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." Acts 1:10-11
It is always tempting to want to gaze into the heavens, straining to see Jesus. If we just keep our eyes looking upwards then maybe we will see God and maybe we will not have to deal with life on this earth. Gazing into the heavens after Jesus is a way of escape, a way to remove ourselves from the dirt and darkness of human life. If only I keep looking up then I won’t have to see prejudice and dishonesty and poverty and death and I can pretend they don’t exist, or at least not be bothered or moved by them.
Tap, tap, tap – to the disciples who stood gazing into the heavens the angels called them back to reality. “Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?” Jesus has ascended, he will come again and now you have work to do – the work of Jesus; the work of reaching out to the world and caring and healing and loving. To the disciples of every age – “Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?” We have work to do and it is the work of Jesus.
This word of the angels is for us – Jesus’ disciples at St. Matthew’s: We have work to do too. We have the work of Jesus’ ministry of reaching out to all with the Good News of Jesus the Risen and ascended Lord. This work takes the form of Sacramental worship, of teaching our children and seeing that they are brought up in the faith, of reaching out of ourselves to all others in a variety of ways, of being together as a community of Christ. We have work to do.
Happy Ascension Day!
Thanks be to God!
Tiny Desk Sermon: Easter 5 B, 1 John 4:7-21 - An impromptu reflection on the texts for this coming Sunday, April 29, 2018
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