All of us know the experience of losing someone close to us to death. And, we know what it is like to know that they are “gone” and to have an experience that makes us feel like she/he is still here. Our loved one is gone — and yet, they are still here.
Maybe they “come to us” in a dream. We see their face, we hear their voice, and it is like they are with us —– we wake up — and there might be sadness — or there is such a good feeling of “seeing them” and “hearing them” one more time.
Maybe we are day dreaming — and all of a sudden, we are somewhere long ago — thinking of somewhere we had been and something we had done with this loved one. We enjoy re-living the experience and once again feeling what it was like to be with this person.
I remember the morning my father died. Leaving the hospital shortly after 7 a.m. when the world around me was waking up and beginning its new day —- I wanted the world to just stop. I wanted everything and everyone to stand still — to remain quiet. “My world” had been shaken, and I wanted everything to just be still. But, life went on. People were getting ready for work. Students were being dropped off at school. Life went on, the world kept turning.
Imagine what it was like for the apostles, the close followers of Jesus. He died a brutal death on the cross. He was buried — he was gone. Then, he was risen and glorified. He was back among them. Then, some time later, he started talking about having to leave again. If he didn’t leave, then the spirit could not come. What? What is this all about? Then the day came for him to be taken from their sight — he was gone, again!
“While they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”
Then these two fellas dressed in white showed up and asked, “why are you standing there and looking at the sky?”
We have a right to grieve and to mourn when we “lose someone.” Grieving is a part of the healing. Mourning is part of reliving. Someone dear to us is gone — we have lost someone and some “thing” — some part of ourselves. We do, in a sense, gaze into nothingness — we stare into the sky. And one day, it comes to us —- we have to start moving, we have to start living again ….. there are things to do, chores to do, goals to accomplish. Our MISSION is still before us — we know that looking into the sky will be of little or no benefit to us. In some way, this _____________[Jesus] will come back to us as they left, we must move forward on our own …. in a new way, in a different way. One has been taken from our sight.
But, before we start moving, before we put one foot in front of the other, we need to hear the words of today’s Gospel …[Luke 24:46-53] —- “Stay in the City until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Quite simply and quite clearly: DO NOT TRY to engage the world, do not try to deal with all the challenges and the changes by yourself ….stay where you are, stay in the City until you are clothed with power from on high.
No matter how strong we think we are, no matter how many people might be willing to help us, we need something more …. we need the power of God — otherwise, we will be overwhelmed, we will be overcome, we will not do as well as we could do.
If the apostles of Jesus were warned not to engage the world, not to re-enter into their duties and the new world around them, then it is no disgrace for us to feel numb, to feel empty, to wonder and to wander.
And while I am talking about physical death and the loss of a loved one, I am also talking about any loss, any life-altering change —– we grieve, we mourn, we get angry, we ask WHY and feel that God and everyone has left us — no one knows — we also either begin again, OR WE GET LOST IN THE CLOUD.
Life is good — and life is worth-the-living-just-because he lives …. and so do our loved ones ….my mom, my dad — they all live and so must I. BUT ONLY with the power of God.
And so, this weekend ….if our head is IN THE CLOUDS, if we are just standing and looking at the sky …. we blink, we take a deep breath, and we prepare to engage the world, to deal with the challenges before us.
And, we ask for our own personal PENTECOST ….we beg for empowering by the Spirit. We ask God to help heal the hole in our soul …. we asks God to take the pain from our heart, we ask God to show us a new way ….. a new path ….. a new way living.
We pray: may we have a spirit of wisdom … may his will be revealed to us so that we will know HIM and his glory …. may the eyes of our hearts be enlightened, that we know the hope that belongs to those who answer his call — may we see the riches of glory that we are to inherit … may be feel his surpassing power of his greatness … a greatness that belongs to me! [Ephesians 1:17-23]