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Pastor's Column 5/21/2023

“As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!” Acts 1:10-11, NLT

“Beyond Our Gaze”

Departing really does invoke a feeling of “sweet-sorrow.” The departure of Jesus to be with the Heavenly Father in glory was a moment of joy and triumph for Him. However, for the disciples with whom Jesus had spent significant earthly time, seeing the Teacher and Messiah leave them brought some anxious thoughts. This is possibly described when the disciples stood speechless; watching intently as Jesus was carried swiftly through the air, beyond the clouds, and into the abyss beyond any human vision! The staring of the disciples in the moment of the ascension of Jesus, is the common gaze of humankind on events that affect us directly. Or, we’re prone to gaze on events outside of us out of curiosity. For example, highway officials record that major traffic will become stalled; not merely on the side of the highway where an accident occurs; but on the opposite side where the traffic flows in the opposite direction. This “curiosity factor” hinders, delays, and often brings traffic flow to a complete stop; which creates more problems. The disciples were neither curiosity seekers, nor casual onlookers. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the Savior’s promise to leave them, and to return again. Jesus also promised to send them the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who would indwell them, and fill them with power to be witnesses to the truth of the Gospel Message. We note that after Jesus was beyond their gaze, the disciples went to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit. The ten days were attended with prayer and worship; they were accented with joy and praise. Early observations of people watching others leave to return home by bus or train, is etched in my memory. People gazed until the train or bus disappeared, and everyone returned home to live another chapter of life!

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