By the Waters of Babylon –Ps 137:1
[Tomorrow is the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus – read Acts 1:1-11]
Acts 1:10-11: Two men dressed in white said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky?”
Those two verses remind me of a popular schoolboy prank, one in which I participated gleefully. Someone would stand on a very busy street corner, head back, gazing intently straight up at the sky. Quite soon, a crowd would gather, everyone standing there looking up. Everyone waiting to see something, when in fact nothing was going on. By the time realization and embarrassment hit, the boys who had started it all were long gone. The question put to the men of Galilee is much of the same thing. “Why are you staring into the sky?” What is going on? What are we all looking at?
In days of confusion, fear, and isolation, men and women of Faith will often want to seek answers in the heavens. “Why is this happening to us?” There must be answers somewhere, and we have been trained to look to Jesus for answers – and we assume, as always, that Jesus will be found somewhere away from here – in the heavens. So, we look up.
It’s easier to focus our eyes on heavenly things than to come to terms with God’s creation here on earth. When we keep our eyes in the heavens and look for Jesus there, then we avoid all responsibility for taking our part in things here on earth. Spending our time and energy gazing up into the heavens relieves us of the need to be God’s witnesses here on earth.
In our time of captivity and boredom, we need to take our heads out of the clouds. There are mobs of people casting their eyes to the skies who get quickly confused and discouraged because they do not find Jesus there.
Our mandate from Jesus is to come down to earth and be his witnesses to all those around us – to friend and enemy alike.
And, while we are looking around us (rather than above us), we will see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet and find ourselves truly supported by those we meet daily. Our Lord Jesus lives within every one of us. We need to take our heads and hearts out of the sky and instead look around us in order to discover Jesus within us.