Kris Judd of Des Moines, IA, USA
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you-that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God. -Luke 24:44-53
In our scripture reflection this morning Jesus’ frightened disciples have just learned of the experience of the two men on the road to Emmaus. In that encounter, his followers changed from questioning where Jesus had gone to astonishment at who stood before them, asking them for something to eat.
Their heart-felt questions were answered with a simple directive, “Look up, child.” The disciples in the upper room could have bowed their heads in shame because they abandoned Jesus. They could have kept their eyes shut out of fear of seeing a ghost. Instead, they looked up and saw Jesus, the One whose face and voice and teachings had become imprinted in their minds and hearts. “Where are you now?” was answered with a very real presence. Doubt ceased, at least momentarily. They looked up and saw a different vision of their future, filled with hope.
It may be easy for us to keep our gaze down, focused on what seems like solid ground beneath our feet. No eyes to meet, no conversations to be had, no chance of being recognized or noticed, no gaze towards the unknown future before us. Likewise, no opportunity to look beyond the horizon to which we are sent. Or to see the signposts pointing the way to the movement of God’s spirit around and within us.
But the invitation of the Ascension is linked to our formation and Christ’s mission. Look up. God has not abandoned you. You have been forgiven. There’s no need to avert your eyes from the One who extends grace and mercy. Look up, child, and keep moving, because the future awaits your wholehearted response. There’s so much more to be and do.
Look up, child!
In God we all belong.
Sustaining Our Connections
Many find themselves isolated around the world to protect each other and the most vulnerable during this global pandemic. Spend time prayerfully imagining those people that you might normally come into contact with on a regular basis, known and unknown. Remember all the connections that sustain our lives each day. Even in this time of intentional separation, how are you experiencing deep, intrinsic belonging in God?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.