The Holy Spirit is still here
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirt has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When He had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Acts 1: 8-9
Today is Ascension Day, a major Feast Day when we commemorate and celebrate Christ ascending into heaven. Tonight, we will hold Evensong with beautiful music and prayers for Ascension. Christ’s ascension, as He promised His disciples, led to the coming of the Holy Spirit, the new life for ministry and the following of Jesus that Christ Himself had promised. Jesus, right before He went (physically) away from His followers forever, not only promised the Holy Spirit but told them they would be “my witnesses….to the ends of the earth.” The disciples did as Jesus commanded them and, as a result, we have received the Word of Jesus down two millennia, to our own day. Think about that! The disciples went through incredible persecution and hardship, challenging the Roman Empire even, as they shared the hope, love, and mercy of God in Jesus, the Anointed One, the Messiah, throughout the world, from their generation to ours. Their faith is our reward and blessing, as we are free to worship, learn, and to be disciples of Jesus now.
We know that the last two plus months have been a time of incredible hardship for so many; a fearful, anxious, and uncertain time. We still do not know exactly what the future holds but we can be certain of at least one thing: Christ is still Risen and we belong to God through Him, now and always. I hope that our prayers during this time have helped us to see God’s love for us more clearly, with the guidance of that Holy Spirit Christ promised to the first disciples and, by their mercy and God’s grace, to us. We are in a time that is, for us, unprecedented, but we can rest assured that many folks over the ages have faced crisis before (from bubonic plague during the middle ages, to cholera in the 19th century, to AIDS and Ebola in the late 20th Century, and more) and their faith not only helped them through terrible trial but allowed many to be witnesses to the goodness of God amidst suffering and change. We need not minimize people’s suffering to, at the same time, understand that the Holy Spirit continues to live, and move, and give us new life, in God’s name. We are to witness wherever we can and however we can to the continuing life of Jesus which is love and hope, above all things.