|Ascension, by Rembrandt, 1636|
(looking up into the sky, then “noticing” congregation) Oh! I didn’t see you there. Well, he’s gone—just left, in fact. I can’t quite believe it—it’s not like we have a plan in place, or any of us really know what to do next. What now? Obviously I can’t keep standing here, but . . .what else am I gonna do?
And I think this time it may be permanent, not like before when he’d come and go, and we’d run into him days later somewhere else in
Galilee. What? Oohhh. . . .sorry, I guess I thought you knew who I was talking about. Remember a month or so back, around the Passover, when the Romans executed that traveling teacher? Yeah, that one: the healer and storyteller and critiquer of the religious establishment. Uh-huh. And then. . .well, you may not have heard this part, but (whispering) after about three days later he appeared to us. (full voice) Yeah. Not dead. Couldn’t quite account for it. . . . God just. . . .raised him. There’s no other explanation. ‘Cause none of us are crazy. I mean, we know the difference between real and pretend. And he was really dead. I saw it myself. And then he wasn’t. Saw that too.
(as if in response to another’s comment) So you’ve heard those rumors too, about us followers overpowering the guards at the tomb and stealing the body? (rolling eyes). Seriously. Look at us. Do we seem like the kind of people who could pull that off? If he hadn’t appeared to us and told us to let go of our fear, we’d still be hiding behind locked doors. Nope. We’re about the best advertisement there is that he’s really risen. Nothing else could have snapped us out of it.
So. . . like I was saying, I’m not sure what’s next. He did mention a while back that we were going to receive some kind of power. So I guess the best plan is to sit tight and pray for the whatever-it-is. . .yeah, the Holy Spirit, that’s it, to give us power to. . . . Well, I’m not sure exactly. Be witnesses. You’d think he could have spelled it out a little more than that. But that was always how he was, saying stuff like, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them listen.” What does that mean, anyway? We all got ears!
He also used to tell all these stories about people who weren’t ready and who missed it, like the foolish bridesmaids who were off shopping for supplies and missed the wedding banquet. I don’t plan on being like one of them—I don’t want to miss anything. So I’m gonna follow those vague directions we did get—go back into town and wait with the rest of them (the rest of the followers, I mean) and pray and stay put until something happens. I’m sure it will. There was that moment after he died when I had my doubts, but the truth is, God hasn’t let us down yet, and don’t see any reason that would change anytime soon.
—posted on Leader Online
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