Be My Witnesses -- An Ascension Day Text
God's Spirit comes upon those who are united: Those are the people he uses. And the churches in the West have been bedeviled by individualism and disunity. So much so that we do not even notice our own arrogance in the way we unchurch others. We are oblivious of our failings and our blindness, but very strong on some aspects of the truth which we are confident that we have and others do not. But the division frequently comes not from doctrinal roots but from personal. . . . And the secularized modern world watches cynically at this supposed embodiment of God's kingly rule, torn apart by different emphases and policies of mutual distrust and exclusion. God cannot bless disunity, and he will not. For then the church would be proclaiming a lie: maintaining the reconciliation Christ came to bring to all who trust him, yet manifesting nothing but division. It is only when men and women are clearly being reconciled with one another despite all their differences that skeptics will stop and take not of the Reconciler.
We cannot tell God what gifts he should give us. We cannot judge the reality of other people's gifts by those we have ourselves. An attitude of openness is an important avenue to reception and to growth. The Spirit is sovereign in his world and in his church. The last thing we want to do is grieve him and get in his way.
Attribution: Ascension, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54351 [retrieved May 30, 2019]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skip/111045024/.