Dear Friends,

This Thursday marks the Church’s celebration of Jesus’ Ascension when Jesus met with his followers on the Mount of Olives and was taken up into heaven. The disciples then entered into that period I often call “in-between time.” In-between time is that stretch between Jesus’ resurrection when the disciples joyfully celebrated that death could not hold Jesus in its grip, and the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit was given to the disciples to boldly continue the work that had begun in Jesus.

I wonder what it must have been like for the disciples, not knowing what was to come. One of my favorite scenes in all of scripture is when Jesus’ followers are all standing in a circle looking at the clouds where Jesus had just vanished. Were they uncertain? Were they afraid? Did they know what their next steps would be? But I also love the 2 men in white robes who show up out of nowhere. “What are you looking at?” they ask. “Why are you looking up there? Look around. There’s work to be done! Get moving! Jesus told you what to do!”

I feel that those words are not just directed at the disciples, but are directed at us as well. “Look around! There’s work to be done! Get moving!” We know the joy of resurrection. We hear of Jesus’ ascension, and we give thanks for the Spirit that breathes life into all of us. And so we are off and running. Jesus has told us what to do – love. Love one another. Love our neighbor. Love the loveless. Love the stranger. That’s who we are – people of love. We are so loved by God that we can’t do otherwise than to share that love in all we do!

And when we love, we know that we don’t do it alone – God’s Holy Spirit accompanies us in all that we do.

Those days between the Ascension and Pentecost must have felt a bit confusing for the disciples, unsure what was going to happen next. Maybe our lives feel a bit that way as well. We have been thrown for a loop these past weeks, and we don’t know what lies ahead. But we can still lean on Jesus’ arms, we can still draw strength from God. And we can still love. Because God loves us!

In these days, may you know God’s strength and hope, God’s courage and love, as you seek to embody that love in all you do!

Pastor Joanne