In the book of Acts the story of the ascension of Jesus goes like this:
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But yc; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 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.”
I love the ending of this passage. The disciples are looking up dazed and confused as to what they have just seen when all of the sudden two figures clothed in white robes ask them why they are looking up. During Eastertide, we follow the stories of Jesus appearing after the resurrection to many different people and then the story ends with the promise of another who will help the disciples tell this story.
If you stop to think about what they have experienced for just a moment, you will realize the disciples are in shock. They have watched their leader whom they have followed for three years be crucified and buried. They have run in fear hoping the authorities decided not to round up those who followed him and give them the same fate. They have waited and grieved and prayed.
Then the stories of the resurrection met their ears. They stood by with hope and then Jesus appeared in their midst as they were gathered together and they celebrated. They rejoiced and wondered what this meant. They listened as he told them the stories of the scriptures.
Then he was gone, taken up in cloud. They gazed up listening and wondering what this all meant and where they were supposed to go from here. Then they heard the message from the men clothed in white, “Move on, there’s work to do.” So many emotions in such a small amount of time. They were dazed and confused. Not sure really what to do next.
This is a pretty good description of the last six weeks for me as well. The wide range of emotions I have felt from one day to the next often leaves me feeling dazed and confused wondering what to do next, wondering what to feel next, wondering what will come next.
Maybe the promise of Jesus here to his disciples is the same promise for us:
you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you
You will receive power to take that next step, to do the next step and to be the witness of the way God continues to dwell among us.
Come Holy Spirit come. Awaken us again.