So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:6–11

We’ve all done it. After a spiritual experience, we can too easily freeze and hang onto the moment, the day, the feeling. Like the disciples standing there in Jerusalem (at least, that is the traditional site) looking up in the sky, and essentially being told to get about the business of the Kingdom, sometimes we need a good kick in the seat of our pants. It’s not about shame; at the end of the day, it’s about the Kingdom.

As our nation — and the world — grapples with the realities of COVID-19 and the recurrent social distancing changes to life as we know it, it could be dangerously easy to stare — not so much at the sky, but maybe at the news, or social media, or simply at nothing, locked into fear or anxiety or the “paralysis of analysis.”

What the disciples needed to do, was just to do something. Don’t just stand there; do something! And perhaps what we as followers of Jesus need to do is to do something — anything — for someone else. But do it in the name of Jesus, and let the Lord claim all the glory.

Dr. Chuck Roberts
Pastor for Congregational Life

For Reflection

Am I catching myself staring at something that I need to distance myself from?

What is one thing I could do to shift a pattern in my life?

Prayer

Lord, help me to shift my gaze from looking for You to seeing You in the lives and faces of “the least of these;” In Your name, Amen.