He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
— Acts 1:9
I am old enough to remember when you could walk with people right up to the departure gates at an airport. Before the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, you could see your loved ones board a plane and watch their flight depart. But even if you don’t have that memory, we all know what it is to have to part with someone we love.
My daughter has a question that she still uses when I am headed out the door. She looks at me and says, “Why you leave me?” Her words echo the phrasing she used as a young child. Then I usually tell her I am leaving for work and will return soon.
In a way like children, the disciples who were gathered around Jesus were focused on what mattered to them. “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Their view was limited to what Jesus would do for their little corner of the world. What Jesus was about to do was so much more!
Jesus gave them a promise (power from the Holy Spirit), a mission (to be his witnesses), and a vision (from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth). The disciples were on the edge of a new chapter in the ongoing story of God and his people.
By ascending, Jesus has gone to work in heaven for us, and he has given us a task that is both life-challenging and life-giving. In addition, Jesus has promised to be with us always, by his Spirit. He will never leave us!
Dear God, as we remember Ascension Day and Jesus’ return to heaven, may we be encouraged to know that as he works to spread his church everywhere, he is also with us. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!