Rev.  Jan Bihl
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The Ascension Story
Luke 24:36-43; Acts 1: 1-11

How can you and I wait faithfully?

In their last encounter with Risen Jesus…after the numerous times when, as Luke writes in the opening lines of the Book of Acts, Jesus presented himself alive to them, they ask this question. “Is this the time when you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Is this the time when you are going to make Israel great again? Is this the time you are going to restore us to what it was like before?”

            Over a year into a pandemic, what are we asking the risen Christ as we stand with him today? “Jesus, is this the time when you will restore us to “normal”? Is this the time when we can get back to how we were doing things before? Will you make the church great again? Make the economy great again?

            “Actually,” Jesus said to the first disciples, in essence, “God is doing something new.” He told them to wait. The Holy Spirit would come as promised and empower them to be witnesses to all they had seen and heard and learned from him. Power to proclaim and to follow through. In the meantime, they were to wait.

            It takes trust to wait for a new thing. In his article connecting faith, belief and trust, John Ortberg says, “…at its core, faith is not simply the belief in a statement; it puts trust in a person. We all think we want certainty. But we don’t. What we really want is trust, wisely placed...” http://www.johnortberg.com/what-do-i-really-believe/.  Trust is what was asked of the disciples after Jesus disappeared before their eyes. There would be no restoration project, no going back to how it used to be. God was doing a new thing and they were to be part of it. They didn’t know when or how. They needed to trust.

            Well here we are, in 2021, and we are coming yet again to the end of another thing we have known: our pre-recorded online worship collaboration and  it’s uncertain what, exactly worship will look like going forward. Plus, we are still in a pandemic, hoping for an end of restrictions…wanting to hug people again. To gather together over meals. To worship together again. We don’t know what life will look like on the other side of this, but my guess is, that as people of faith,  we are not looking to go back. So we wait prayerfully and faithfully.

            When we wait faithfully, we are we asking, wondering, watching, and waiting for the presence of the Holy Spirit…and to find our calling and draw fresh energy from that source.  We are actively trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us toward the new thing the Originator of all new things is doing for the good of ALL of Creation.  When we wait faithfully, we don’t need certainty; what we need is to wisely place our trust in the Risen Christ, the living spirit of Jesus, at work in our lives and in the world...at work in and through each of us! Alleluia!

            Peace for each day.

            Rev. Jan