“As they watched, he [Jesus] was taken up and disappeared in a cloud.” Acts 1:9
Recently, I watched a documentary about immigrants who left Europe to go to America for a better future. The produces dramatized families on the dock waving goodbye to their loved ones… watching until the ship was out of sight. Then, they returned home, hearts heavy, knowing they most likely would never see their daughter, son, or relatives again.
The ascension story is like this. Those who loved Jesus the most, his disciples, watched Jesus leave in a cloud–gone in a matter of seconds. But the scripture in Acts isn’t just about Jesus going home to his Father. Before Jesus disappeared in the cloud, he gave the disciples a gift and a command. The gift of the Holy Spirit and a command for the disciples to go and witness to people “to the ends of the world.”
The disciples didn’t have time to stand around and glare at the sky. They had work to do. The Holy Spirit accompanied them on their journey. It is my hope that the Holy Spirit hovered over the families left behind on the docks in Europe and gave them peace and assurance that they would some day be united with their loved ones.
Dear God, help us aim for heaven but continue to witness on earth. Amen.