It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
~ Psalm 92:1 - 4
Today marks the last day of Easter Time within the church, with tomorrow being Pentecost. It has been a fifty day journey for Christ among the Disciples since the resurrection and within hours, Jesus will ascend and the Holy Spirit will make it's presence known.
A lot is going to happen!
It's moments like this, knowing the big picture as we do, what it must have been like for those who responded when Jesus said, "Come, follow me."
The morning a few fishermen walking along the shore, talking about everyday things, and watching as fish pulled at their nets, meeting a stranger. What was it about Jesus that convinced them to drop their nets by the water's edge?
For the tax collector, Levi, who was often feared and hated, what was it about Jesus that when he said, "Your name is now Matthew," that he never again answered to the name given to him by his parents?
Young Andrew, following Jesus, like a little brother looking up to his big brother, who celebrated several baskets of fish and loaves of bread when they only began with a handful after feeding 5,000 people, what would he do now?
For each of these men, and the women as well, like Mary and Martha whose brother Lazarus died and they watched as he entered into the daylight after being placed in a tomb, Jesus leaving their presence was going to be another change for them.
I am reminded of the words Luke writes when the paralyzed man is lowered through the roof of a home where Jesus was speaking, after hearing Jesus tell him to "take up his mat and walk," he then records that the people all commented, "surely today we have seen a great thing."
Each of these moments effected everyone around. But now, Jesus is about to leave their presence, and they are going to encounter something that they could never have planned for.
Imagine hearing Jesus say, "It's now time for me to leave..."
For those who left everything to follow him must be thinking, "now what?" They have literally changed their entire lives. And now this!
One of the things that I have discovered about the Christian faith is that God's presence meets us in many ways. Through others, personal experiences, and in the silence of the night. As we go through the various chapters of our life, God addresses our needs as we age, and remains present.
How thankful I am that we have a God that has encountered us through creation. We have experienced a God who walked with us through Jesus. And that we have a God that indwells within us through the Holy Spirit.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, how marvelous are the ways that You know me! I am both grateful and humbled by the ways in which You approach me. Help me to recognize Your presence each day. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.