Together with our disappointment, our hope, our rejoicing, our confusion, our faith and our fear, we start a new day. The sun has risen and the common language we can speak is love. And thankfulness. And praise. So let us come together after months of division and separate thinking, and celebrate the citizenship that unites our spirits, that transcends this earth. We are one! One body, one people, under the name of Christ and the residence of Heaven. If the world sees us as divided, they will not trust us. If the world witnesses our hate, they will not recognize Love. If the world feels our judgment, they won’t understand the depths of the grace we’re to represent.
At the end of my fast, when the announcement was proclaimed, I opened the word of God and my hands fumbled to the first words of the book of Acts. What is the Lord going to show me? I always ask. Because we can expect to encounter the living God in his living word.
I know Acts 1 as the ascension story, so initially I’m skeptical that the word will speak to our current reality. But alas, I was wrong.
The apostles were with Jesus and they asked a question:
Lord, are you at this time, going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
Jesus said to them:
It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
This question from the apostles comes after Jesus had spent forty days with them announcing the Kingdom of God, explaining to them what it would be like.
The popular understanding of the Messiah is he would be a powerful figure, political and military in nature. For when you speak of such things as reigning and kingdom this is what the human mind understands it to be.
But we know better now. It’s been revealed to us. Jesus came, not to bring an earthly kingdom as was expected, but he came to redeem the lost. To save creation from the chains of sin.
We may not be asking the same question as the apostles, but we have some similar expectations. Like these men, our earthly experiences shape and interpret and confuse our understanding of God’s intentions on this earth and the mission he sets before his people. There are a great many people today crying out Lord, when are you going to restore what’s been lost to us?
We want God’s values to be recognized. We want our voice of morality to have influence in politics, in shaping the ways of this nation. We want justice on those who think and do otherwise.
But vindication is not ours to expect. Exaltation should not be what we hope for.
So when we’re feeling like our voice doesn’t weigh in. When we’re feeling like the leader we wanted wasn’t elected. When we’re feeling thankful that the one we did want remains. When it seems that morality is being turned against. Or maybe God is turning against this nation. Whether we got what we hoped, or lost what we were hoping for — the answer Jesus offered to the apostles, is what we need to understand today:
The power God intends for his people is in the Holy Spirit. And the way to use it is through witness. In our city. In our nation. To our foreign neighbors. And among this entire world.
This is how to be a powerful people. This is how to preserve the ways of God. This is how to reign in love. This is how to unite as a people who understand our real citizenship.
The power is already ours. It always has been and always will be. For God has elected his people! And his Spirit indwells them with the power to witness! To proclaim who he is. To love in his name. To live within grace. To make him known among the world.
Go and live as the ones elected in power!