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June, 2022
Greetings Friends,
In the book of Acts, the author describes Jesus’ ascension, “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 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, 1:6-11, NRSV)
The angels ask the disciples, “…why do you stand looking toward heaven?”  Why do you think they are gazing up to the place where Jesus left?  They have the promise of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus has taught them everything that they need to do to continue his work, and act as his hands and feet in the world.  They trust God and love one another.   And yet, they stand rooted in place, looking after him.  What they need now isn’t in the sky, or in the future, it’s in the here and now.  It’s in Christ’s promise, in their hearts, and in the community of followers.    
It must have been hard to stop looking after him, knowing that things were forever changed, even though the Lord revealed to them all that they needed to know, and they were about to enter a new and exciting time of sharing the Good News of God’s love with the world.  
I remember when I took my son to college and dropped him, and all of his stuff off three states away.  I knew he was coming back home, and that we would be in touch, but I still remember seeing him walk into his new life, watching even after the door closed behind him.  I was so happy for him, and ready for the next chapter to begin, but just for a moment, I was not quite ready to step into the future.  So much potential, so much newness, so much promise.  
I wonder what the disciples were thinking as they stood, looking up, not quite willing to get their gaze and their heads down onto the ground where their feet were.  Maybe they held out, wanting a little more time, a few more answers, or just one more so long. 
Thankfully they had the angels to remind them and us, of Jesus promise to return, and to always be present throughout time.  What good news, that our Lord never leaves us alone, that in all of our loving, working, and changing, his presence with us is constant.  God’s endless gracious love, enfolds us now and always, empowering us to love one another and be his hands and feet here on earth each and every day.
Your Sibling in Christ, 
Pastor Deb