Today’s Reading: Acts 1:9 (NIV)
After [Jesus] said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.
I couldn’t help but notice a most captivating sunset Saturday evening as I walked across the pedestrian bridge that linked the parking garage to St. Louis University Hospital. The sunlight streaming through a few colorful clouds beamed across the sky and literally fell along the path where I was walking. I stopped to look up. The light was so bright that I could not keep my eyes on it for more than a second; yet, it was the most beautiful thing I think I’ve ever seen.
I wonder if this is similar to the disciples’ experience when Jesus was taken up into heaven. One minute, He is standing there, speaking to them, and the next, He is high and lifted up, moving across the sky. The disciples strained their eyes to see Him pass through the clouds but the light was so intensely bright they could not watch Him go. Eventually, a cloud hid Him from their physical sight.
Just because we cannot see Him in the flesh, does not mean that Jesus isn’t here with us right now.
When I make hospital visits, it is my practice to pray silently for the people in every room that I walk by. On one floor, babies are being born every minute and new life is birthed into every heart who peers into the nursery window for the very first time. On another floor, people are waiting for any word of hope for their loved ones who remain patients in intensive care units. Pastors and physicians gather with family members who are holding vigil as their friend is fighting for life. Here the battle is often won in a brand new life. We wait as they breathe their last earthly breath and take their first, fresh new breath of everlasting life in heaven.
I couldn’t help but wonder if that beautiful sunset wasn’t the grand welcome for a precious child of God, who was crossing over at that very moment from death into new life. They are here one minute and gone the next; we strain our eyes to see them go. Yet, this precious one lives on in our hearts and minds forever. As I moved across the pedestrian bridge, I was reminded that all of us will one day walk across the bridge that leads from this life into the next. Who will be there to greet you on that day? When I make my crosswalk journey, there is only one face I long to see, and His light will be the light that guides my every step home.
If you have lost a loved one in the past week, my prayer is that you will remember Christ’s everlasting promise; Jesus is with us always, even to the end of the age. He has gone to prepare a place for you and me; where we will be live in His light forever. This is not the end, but a brand new beginning. Learn to embrace the sunsets of life, for it is a gift of all that is to come.
Jesus is with us always: yesterday, today and forever. Choose to walk in the light of His love today.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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