A thin mist still veils the land, dark starless sky high above, cool breezes bringing chill. Breath clouds out, drifts away. Quiet reigns, no noises except a gentle breeze stirring the strips of the wind sock, a soothing rustle. In the distance forms and shapes take on a mystical quality, half hidden in the settled cloud.
In dwelling for a while on not just the crucifixion but also on the resurrection I realize that the fault of believers throughout history has been impatience and worry. From Christ’s first moment of ministry, well even before that, going back to the beginning, humanity has doubted and swayed, always sure that this time God will not come through as promised. Always he does, but for those who let their doubts sway too far, this activity may not help. It was foretold to the prophets what would happen, but the disciples did not believe. Even when they walked and talked with him, they did not believe, not really. For forty days he walked and talked with them, touched them, ate and drank with them. And at the end, at the ascension they still did not understand what was happening. But, they trusted enough to pray, to wait, to let their insecurity be settled through patience rather than through action.
That was to their benefit. Waiting on God in the silence is an act of faith. He speaks when there is something to say, whether or not we are willing to wait for the voice.
Tomorrow is ascension day, the day forty days after Easter. This marks the last evening the risen Christ walked among sinful humanity, the last night when faith was not needed to believe in the resurrection. All who saw are dead now, long dead. All who touched him, heard his voice, saw the scars are buried millenia ago. They did their part, they wrote what they saw, four witnesses, and a late blooming Apostle. The choice to embrace their testimony is ours.
What we do with it is also our choice to make. Do we accede to the words, but not let the reality change our being? That is the question always before me. What do I do with this? If it is true, how do I act like it is? What in my life reflects the resurrection? What reflects a denial of the resurrection?
How differently, I wonder, would I live if I touched the wounds in his side, in his hands, on his feet? I imagine I would pray more, worry less, understand a broader reality than the one I presently see. So, that is still the task, to learn to be that person without having to touch the wounds, hear his voice come from a physical mouth.
That is the part of the goal. Within that, by doing that, is the secret of contentment.
For now I wait on the Spirit to continue to move in my midst, empowering me, and helping me to wait as desired. I take the next steps as they come, delighting in the opportunity.
Or not delighting, and just doing. For obedience is the highest call, whether to glory or to shame. That is the lesson I still am learning.