…those who had gathered together asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?”
Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.
God did not leave the Hebrews to wander the desert alone: instead, God went before them in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day….
As Jesus is lifted up, he is taken out of the disciples sight into a cloud and the Scriptures say he will return the same way…
The United Methodist Book of Discipline reminds us that “Christianity does not leap from New Testament times to the present as though nothing were to be learned from that great cloud of witnesses in between.”
It goes without saying, the world is changing, rapidly. But, just like God promised the Hebrews thousands of years ago, God continues to go before us today. If you look, you will see, there is a cloud…a great cloud of witnesses leading the way.
In some ways we are turning the idea of witness on its head. We are not going out telling people who we think God is. Instead, we lean into the idea that God is already at work in everyone’s lives in ways that they can’t see yet…even our own, (United Methodists call it previenent Grace.) With that belief we are learning to see God’s Grace by listening to personal stories, and looking together for God’s fingerprint in the story. It is through listening to personal stories and looking for God’s presence that we see, and follow, the “pillar of cloud” that is leading the way.
The main way we are doing this is an event called Stories @ The Edge. This event is beautifully simple: a room full of strangers shares a meal together, and after dinner we hear two or three short personal stories. It is a night of transformation and hope.
Want to know more?