Jesus has ascended to heaven and if all we can do is look at the sky, we might be in trouble.
It is important to be aware of Jesus, but it seems, like the disciples themselves, we want to stand there, heads up, eyes fixed upon the great blue and beyond of the sky. Now I am willing to give the disciples some slack, can you imagine standing there and seeing this? However, not unlike the Resurrection, the instruction seems clear... He is not here. The angelic messengers are there to remind us to get up and go, there are things to be done in Jesus' name.
It also seems that we are not to be focused on when Jesus will be back or how, but to live out the promise that being baptized in the Holy Spirit holds for us. Pentecost is a week from Sunday, they day we celebrate that baptism of fire and wisdom.These days in between Ascension and Pentecost are important ones, as we pray for the coming of that wisdom and our willingness to receive it.
The other day I read this post from Richard Rohr and it really struck me. He wrote, “Prayer happened today—and I was there!” I think that we are reminded in words such as those, not to just stand there and stare upwards but to be present and engage.
Jesus has ascended and we are called to show up in prayer and hope. We can't just look at the sky! In living today's Gospel we see that God invites us more deeply into the dynamism of Jesus' transforming work. We need to "be there" when these things happen and as Jesus tells us "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations..."
We don't do this by craning our necks at the sky or by forcing people to follow Jesus. Transformation happens when we live as Christ in the world and the healing, saving, power of Jesus is made real.
In order to be disciples we must show up, have a look up as needed and then be there to show up for and live the prayer that is our mission. The mission is to unify and to heal, to restore the very Body of Christ.
I know I'd rather look up at the sky, but it seems we must do otherwise.