Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20, 2 Timothy:6-7
When Sandy Hook happened 9 years ago, I cried for days. This week, I haven’t shed a single tear. I am stunned and horrified and afraid but mostly I am numb.
This is the last Sunday of our season celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. That means next we celebrate Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, which means this Sunday, traditionally, churches celebrate Ascension–the day Jesus returned to the Father to reign in the Kingdom of Heaven. That sounds triumphant and holy, but it feels like Jesus is leaving us behind.
Especially this week.
This week, reading the story of the ascension actually makes things make sense. It seems like it’s saying that Jesus has left us to go be with God in God’s kingdom up there somewhere in heaven, and we are on our own down here with a great commission to take charge and build a satellite campus. And the reason everything is so brutal and terrible is that we are cosmically bad at our assignment.
But things are not what they seem: in scripture, in the ascension, in the great commission–and in this present moment. Tragedy and loss are brutal and cannot be glossed over, AND violence and injustice are not running the show. Jesus has not left us; the great commission is not a colonial curse and we are not relegated to despair. The good news is always better than it seems.
I hope you will worship with me, as we seek God, and stand on God’s promises in resistant response to this week’s fresh brutality. We walk by faith, not by sight and we are called to be salt and light for just such a time as this.