The Ascension of the Lord

June 2, 2019

What does it mean to be a witness?  Jesus tells His followers they are witnesses to these things.  Did you ever experience an event and later said you would never forget it?  What was the most incredible baseball game you ever saw?  What has brought tears to your eyes?  So often we equate witnessing to crime scenes and investigations.  We are looking at service cameras trying to identify things.  Yet the witnessing Jesus speaks of is different.  It is an emotional telling of the glory of God.  It is the intensity of miracles, coupled with amazement.  As I look at this great commissioning, the witnessing takes on so much more than just the facts or something to identify.

The best baseball game I ever witnessed, other than Chicago winning World Series games, was in Boston at Fenway Park.  Jose De Leon pitched against Roger Clemens.  Both struck out over ten batters of the opposing team.  The game was won by the White Sox because Roger Clemens overthrew a ball from a perfectly executed bunt over the first basemen’s head in the top of the ninth inning.  The White Sox won 1 to 0.  I saw over 20 strikeouts in that game.  The emotions I experience when remembering this game to this day are far more than telling facts.  It was a hot summer night in Boston and it was an alive experience.  I can still recall clearly the sights and sounds of that night.

This kind of witnessing is what Jesus is talking about.  When we invite others to know about the love we have for God, when we speak of the things God has done for us, it is to be an emotional retelling.  Beyond the facts are the wonder and awe of God.  Beyond looking for clues to prove anything is the uplifting event that changes our lives and we want that change for others.  God has been about wonderful things; we have all witnessed the triumph of God.  We have all at some point in our lives felt the awesomeness of forgiveness.  When we see and hear of conversion in the lives of others, we are to be drawn in.  When we see the fingerprint of God leading us as we look back at things, we are to be in awe.  When we experience the breath of God, we are to be inspired.  All of this is the witnessing the Lord invites us into.  He longs for us to tell the story.  He longs for us to share the Good News.

On this day we are called to be the witnesses.  The witnessing is to be filled with passion and enthusiasm.  It is to be filled with mercy and understanding.  As we walk together, may God find us celebrating His glory.  It is there and we are called to lead others to it.

Reverend  John J. Ouper