One person I highly respect posted a blog on the ascension and the anticipation of the coming of the Spirit. It helped me think further about this week on the Church calendar. For a little over a week, we remember the waiting on the Spirit after the Ascension of Christ.
In Luke, the ascension is simply described as Christ separated and taken into heaven. In Acts, it is more mystic and says he was lifted up and a cloud caused him to ascend from their eyes/sight. Acts goes on to describe waiting. It seems that the disciples just did not know what to do after such a mysterious event. They carried on business as usual. Meeting together, remembering, and even electing a replacement of one lost from the original 12 disciples (which did not matter in the end because Acts loses sight of the original 12 very quickly, but that is a post for another day).
The one thing they lacked was clarity, which was probably what they were needing. They were left with no instruction. All they knew was Torah, Israel, and some bits of what Jesus said. What was to be the great thing that sent them out to witness to the other nations?
That has been the week and a few days we have been remembering, but on this day, we jump in celebration. The party has begun. There is now direction. The Spirit has come and we are going out spreading that Spirit around. There is no hanging out in meeting rooms just waiting and setting things up so that things do not fall apart on us. We are going out sharing and creating, innovating with the guidance of the Great Innovator (the Spirit).
In order to do that, we must follow the Spirit out of our rooms. The Upper Room was where the followers met after the Ascension and they stayed there. Many reasons have been named through history: fear, uncertainty, etc. The main truth of the passage is that they stayed and were not being moved. They were static. But the Spirit came, and we see in Acts the blind side of the Holy Spirit. No one saw it coming. The actions of love and the sharing of the Spirit that happened in the rest of Acts are phenomenal and inspiring.
We also have upper rooms in today’s Church. Our room could be fear, dogmatism, judgmentalism, social status, etc. But the Spirit is leading us from all that to a lifestyle of love, bravery, power, compassion, etc. We do not live in a past anymore where we are just waiting. We have a guide taking us out the door.
So let’s celebrate this Sunday. Not in our “rooms”, but outside somewhere. Share the Spirit somehow. Minister to the hurt, give a little more, show more grace. And when you feel like you can not, remember that the Spirit can. It sees the image of God in everyone and treats them like that.
Today is Pentecost, and it is the day of new beginning. It is the day we left the room, locked the door behind us, and never looked back.
What are you waiting on? Are there rooms that you stay in that do not reflect the Spirit? Will you follow the Spirit out of that room and into the world?