“After resurrection Jesus acted strange, materializing through solid wood, even though he didn’t look that different. The gashes seeped still, varnishing the tentative hand, the fingers
that need to know him new. Let me say how strange I feel, trusting this to be true~that a body can be both mortally wounded and whole enough to dodge decay,
as though, half~emptied already of corporeality, half~way to heaven, his hands were still bony enough to gut a couple of lake fish and grill them, taking multiplication the next step.
Of course, he was always more than one thing at once~utterly one and utterly other, now dissolving into thin air, now re~assembling anywhere in some new tongue of flame.”
Translation by Luci Shaw
During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. ~Acts 1:3 NLT
He was actually alive! Forty days he lived and breathed and walked, on the back of a brutal death. There were witnesses. We know it to be so, though the sky went black as he heaved his last breath. Committing his spirit in to his Father’s hands, tears run blood down his face.
My Bible falls open to this page, as if it knows this is where I need to be. He knows where I need to be. He was actually alive, the stone rolled away! Appearing to the apostles from time to time, talking to them about the Kingdom of God. My finger rests on those words, as if he is speaking to me.
I close my eyes, I see him there. I feel His presence. Smell the dust of long ago days. Miles walked in search of broken souls, broken spirits. I smell the blood poured out for me.
Chills run down my spine. These words, they are alive and dance upon the page. I beg them, dance your way deep into my heart. Cut them as stone across my soul. Make me to fall in love with them, to need them as air. To want more than even dark chocolate dripping sea salt. To love them more than my next breath. This is life. The only life, the only way in a beaten down broken up world.
He leaves them a command, “stay in Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised.”
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere~in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ~Acts 1:8 NLT
Power. Holy Spirit. The ends of the earth.
This power, it is the same power that raised, yes, raised the dead. That rolled a stone away, resurrected death to life. How can we walk away, turn down a gift such as this. I cannot. I pray for you the same. I pray you carry Jesus in your heart, and if not, I pray the longing to, begins to overwhelm and overtake, ’till you can no longer resist the tug and pull.
I want this power, I need this power, need this Jesus breathing life in and through the ordinary days of my life. To find Him there in the everyday ordinary is to know that in the breathtaking hard, He is there as well.
There is more than the taking and the receiving of this gift. No, the work comes as we are called to share this power tucked inside of us.
To be willing to step out of our cozy christianity, rules and regulations, our pearls and capri pants. To carry this precious gift and share it with others. Take the hard road, cross the tracks, enter into broken places, broken lives.
To be a witness is more than the taking, it is the telling, the sharing. It takes me, it takes us, out of our warmth, our comfort zones, the places, the facades we are want to hide behind.
The words are simple, the command is great. At times it may be costly, and yet we must be willing.
“These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared-in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans!-why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly-and mysteriously-as he left.”
~Acts 1:9-11 The Message
I imagine my neck stretched taut, standing on my toes to see him ascend, light as gossamer wings towards heaven. This heaven, preset in our longing as home.
It is in the unsaid where words ring loud. “Why must you stand here and stare up into the sky? Were you listening? Can you not hear? Be my witness, telling people everywhere, even unto the ends of the earth!
When I open my eyes, I see. The ends of the earth are as close as the UPS driver that pulls in my drive, the mail carrier who hands me mail that does not fit in the box, the wayward family member, the dear friend staring at the bottom of the bottle.
The weary broken I often run smack into at the doctor’s office. The one, who at wits end, the end of a long shift, with needy children at home, checking me out in line.
This is the ends of the earth, where I stand. I take the Gift I have with greedy heart, I give the gift to share with open hands.
Please sign up and receive my daily emails. You will not want to miss one step of this Journey to Action. COMING TOMORROW FESTIVAL AND FIRES!
I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor.
“If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook
Gifts of Grace