Watching and Waiting: Meditation for Ascension Day
Watching and waiting. Is that what it is all about?
Before John the Baptist, the people of God were watching and waiting, looking for the Anointed One who would free them from their oppressors, looking for a kingdom in which they would rule. They watched and waited so diligently that many missed it, when anointedness showed up in a man named Jesus.
Watching and waiting.
While John the Baptist was in prison, he sent messengers to ask Jesus, “Are you the one we are waiting for? Are you the one we are watching for?” Jesus asked back, “What are you looking for? Do the blind see? Do the lame walk? Were you looking for wholeness?”
Even after Jesus died, the disciples were watching and waiting.
Jesus had risen from the dead, eaten fish with them, walked with them up to Mount Olivet. Jesus had continued to teach them from the law, the psalms, and the prophets. Suddenly he was lifted up and carried away on the clouds. Going back to glory! Hallelujah! And those who were with him watched the sky.
They waited and they watched. They watched and they waited. Until the angels asked them, “What are you doing? Why are you gazing into space?” The question still resounds.
Why are we gazing into space? Waiting and watching!
Jesus taught us. Jesus showed us. Jesus promised to clothe us with anointedness, Holy Spirit power to do greater things than he did. And indeed, the Holy Spirit came and continues to be present that we might do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Oh yes, he is coming back. But our waiting must include kingdom building, creating a realm where there are no oppressors, where there is abundance for the poor, and healing and wholeness for all the children of God.
While we watch, let us look for signs of God’s love and grace in the world and share the good news. While we watch and wait today, let us ride high on the cloud of worship. Let the kingdom show up in this place, for Jesus is already here.
The Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton is the lead editor for African-American Resources at the United Methodist Publishing House and pastor of the Emery United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.