Reflecting on Pentecost Sunday – The Ascension and Awkward Moments from Angels – Part 1

As many know, this Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.   Pentecost means “fifty” and the historical Church celebrates this on the 50th day after Easter.  It tends to be a bit neglected in non-liturgical churches but many pause and reflect on its great significance to the New Testament church – you should too.

Growing up in a non-liturgical setting, the beauty of this day was often lost on me.  But like so many, I could not escape the power of the coming of the promised Holy Spirit in Acts 2.  Gospel readers will remember that it is back in John 14 that Jesus promises the coming of the third person of the Trinity.  Acts opens with Christ’s Ascension into heaven which has always been a beautiful scene that was tragically cut short by bad writing (come on Luke) and the angels resembling NYC Police, “Move along now.  Nothing more to see here folks, move along ..”

If you have not read it in a while you should.  Start from the beginning.  I always try to exercise my imagination when reading Scripture (I used to think everyone did but …) and I imagine this incredible scene, with the Jesus giving His final farewell as He ascends into heaven in slow motion (it may not have been but slowmo but you are free to imagine how you please).  The disciples once again in a state of disbelief, their mouths open, their minds racing and spinning as they watch the Lord soar into the sky, finally their gaze interrupted by a cloud.  As you would imagine, they probably kept staring into the sky.  That is, until these angels (who I am sure were only following instructions) fly back into focus and say, “What are you looking it? The same way He left, He’s going to return … ”

It’s a good thing I wasn’t there, I would have been remembered as the sarcastic disciple who got zapped by an angel.  “What are we looking at?  What do you think we are looking at?  Jesus, you know the guy who was dead last month, just flew up into the sky after fishing and hanging out with us all week.  Now I’m talking to celestial beings – give us a moment if you don’t mind.”

But angelic authority trumps human curiosity every time and they returned back to Jerusalem, selected a replacement for Judas (Matthias) and waited … (chapter 2 tomorrow)

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