It is given to us to engage the present with courageous love, deep insight and expansive justice.
Ascension Day 2020
Jesus told his disciples “It is not for you to know the times or the periods.” But he goes on to say, “You will receive power.”
How many times would we love to know what is going to happen next? If we knew this or that outcome we could plan accordingly, we could ration our resources effectively, we could decide with whom we should invest our energy.
But God does not give us a crystal ball. There is no insider trading regarding the future. What we do receive is power. Power to speak the truth in such a way that people hear the content of our message and the power to endure their reactions when they reject the truth we speak.
The Holy Spirit is the promised presence of the Christ experience after Jesus departs this world. We imagine it to be this mysterious presence that imbues us with magical power and mystical knowledge. But in fact it is more of an inner quiet confidence that we can trust our perceptions that this world belongs to all of us and that all of us have a place in this world. It is the awareness that God is not only well pleased with his son, Jesus, but is also well pleased with us. It is the trust in our sense that injustice needs to be confronted and that the poor need to be invited to the banquet table.
Most of the time we are content with fitting in and going along to get along as if to say, I’m not so bad, am I? But Jesus doesn’t offer a way out of this world or a way to adapt to this world. Rather he implores his followers to powerfully engage this world. The Holy Spirit emboldens that neglected human capacity to see and respond to human need and to identify those powers that rob people of their God-given capacity to give and receive love.
It is not given to us to know the future, but it is given to us to engage the present with courageous love, deep insight and expansive justice.