Look closely at this Scripture. It stretches us to imagine what this scene might have looked like to those who witnessed it. How did they describe the event to their family and friends at the end of the day? Was this the only verse that could describe an experience that must have been indescribable? What do you see as you read verse 9? What’s really there?
Notice what’s not there.
This Scripture is about the Ascension. It’s about Jesus going into heaven, disappearing from the disciples’ sight. Too often commentary on the Ascension includes details about Jesus’ Second Coming and the final destruction of the earth. This passage mentions the first event, but makes no references to the second. Jesus has just told the disciples not to worry about what many now make a living speculating about because “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority” (v. 7).
In fact, verse 11 asks, Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?
Yes, this is an amazing moment for the disciples, but it’s just one moment. Once the Ascension ends, the new chapter of their work on earth begins. And so does ours. Our job is not to destroy the earth, or wait for it to be destroyed, but to live faithfully.
Everybody finds different ways to live faithfully. Some advocate for social justice. Others work to create a caring community for everyone. Some spend a lot of time in prayer or studying the Bible. Others share their gifts: their music, their art, their teaching.
What’s essential is to live faithfully in ways that fit you best so that you don’t burn out and you don’t lose heart. Yes, the Ascension was an amazing moment. There is the hope of the Second Coming. But we’re not here to stand looking up toward heaven.
We’re here to live faithfully on earth.
How do you live faithfully?
God, help us to discern faithful ways to live as committed disciples. Amen.