Why Do You Stand Gazing Up into Heaven?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

jumpWe read from the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles for the Feast of Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven. I always thought it funny how when Jesus was ascending to His Father before His disciples how two angels appeared and asked them why they are gawking upward.  I always imagine the disciple’s jaws dropped and necks craning and thinking they probably would have remained that way indefinitely unless the angels intervened. Jesus prepared His disciples for three years for this moment and they should not have been surprised. But now their Master and Teacher has bodily left them and they were to go to Jerusalem and await the descent of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was passing on the ministry of His Church to His disciples. It must have been a terrifying and anxious time for them.

I am sure there are many of us who remember getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time. We’ve had plenty of time watching others drive, but when it came time for us to take the wheel many of us just stared at the dashboard in front of us in disbelief. We took the hold of the wheel and gave it a squeeze; maybe gave a little turn to the left or right. Gave the key a turn and put it in gear. The instructor (or parent or whomever) gave the command, “Okay, let’s get going.” Probably for the disciples it was more like jumping out of a plane. Going at it for the first time without being in tandem or without their instructor, but instead they would hear, “Why do you stand there looking down? You’ve been prepared for this. This is your time. Jump!”

But once in gear or racing toward the earth at breakneck speed the experience is in the moment. I remember driving my junky car around feeling free and adventurous; the wind blowing through my hair (no, it wasn’t a convertible). I am sure the feeling is much more extreme with skydiving or else people wouldn’t still be paying to do it. The apostles had to wait another ten days but I am sure the day of Pentecost was a very similar experience for the disciples. Instead of a car or a plane they were soaring full of the Holy Spirit. With boldness and full of joy they went forward proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

I wonder why we don’t experience this every time we gather and partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. When we celebrate the Divine Liturgy we ask the Holy Spirit to descend on us just as He did on Pentecost to manifest us as the community of God! Why don’t we feel that same freedom, adventure, boldness and joy? After ascending the heights do we hear the angels crying to us, “Why are you just standing there, JUMP!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: