Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gazing : Going

Ascension Day from Andrew Dowsett on Vimeo.

Today is Ascension Day.

‘So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

‘He 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 ends of the earth.”

‘After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

‘They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”’ (Acts 1:6-11)

Why do you stand here looking into the sky?

The angels confront our passive gazing; our longing to establish a kingdom that is ours, not God’s; to tie God down. Passive gazing anaesthetises our heart to the very One we love.

Passive gazing is a world away from active gazing; the longing to depart and be with our Lord that the apostle Paul expresses in Philippians 1:20-26; the tension of living between two times. Active gazing is cardiac exercise for the heart that knows that he or she is loved.

And then there is going. “Don’t just stand there!” the angels say. But, just as there is passive gazing and active gazing, so there is passive going and active going.

Passive going is restless; empty of power to usher-in kingdom transformation; moves out with purpose, the purpose of witnessing to ourselves; not connected to, not led by, Jesus.

Active going – counter-intuitively – involves waiting; is empowered by the Holy Spirit; moves out with purpose, the purpose of witnessing to the Risen and Ascended One; follows him still.

Ascension Day presents us with a kairos moment.
For some: repent from passive gazing, and believe with active gazing.
For others: repent from passive going, and believe with active going.
For still others: repent from gazing without going...or going without gazing.

The question is, will Ascension Day pass us by unnoticed? Or will it change our lives?


  1. Anonymous11:57 am

    Hey I loved the gazing thing and the video clip. But really...Do people just react accoring to type a, b, or c?

    I mean really, don't we usually have much more muddly responses with some aspects of each at different times and not necessarily at different times or in the same order...Think about how people adapt and change.

    Don't ask me who I am I may not stay the same.

  2. Anonymous - thanks for the feedback; I'm glad you loved the video clip :)

    I agree with you, our responses are muddly. I'm not suggesting anyone is a particular type (though perhaps we have a particular tendency?) I am suggesting that we can take to opportunity to ask, "is there something that needs to change in the particular way I am viewing life right now?" and to engage with that through observation, reflection, discussion with others, leading to forming a plan for change, for which we ask someone to hold us accountable to act in a new way...recognising that this is an ongoing process for the disciple.

    And as for who you are, I hope you do not stay the same, as indeed I hope I do not stay the same.