A yellow balloon rests on the ceiling of Immanuel Lutheran Chapel. I put it there, but credit Becky with the idea.
Thursday is Ascension Day which remembers the awesome sight of Jesus ascending to the right hand of the Father. There is also a theme of waiting running through the Day.
Sunday I stood before the children holding a yellow helium filled latex balloon. “How can I get this balloon to go up?” I asked. “Let go of it,” Hannah said. So I let go and it rose to the ceiling of the sanctuary.
I introduced Ascension Day, saying that when Jesus ascended his disciples had to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. We also have to wait for Jesus to return.
“When will that balloon come down?” I asked. Elisha suggested that we could shoot needles at it. “You wouldn’t to shoot needles of Jesus, would you?” I asked in return. Well, no they wouldn’t want to do that. “So we are just going to have to wait. It may be up there next Sunday. We don’t know when it will come down, just like we don’t know when Jesus will return. Not even Jesus knows that. One day the Father will say, ‘It’s time’ and then Jesus will come.”
In the first lesson Paul had to wait. He was trying to go north into Bithynia along the southern shores of the Black Sea, but the Holy Spirit prevented them. It must have been a frustrating time as they continued west to Troas on the eastern shores of the Aegean Sea. There, one night the Holy Spirit gave Paul a vision of a man from Macedonia beckoning him to come and help them. Paul and his companions cross the Aegean and came to the banks of a river near Philippi, where they found some women worshipping and started a Christian Church.
Sometimes we have to wait until the Holy Spirit reveals where he wants us to go, and it may be to an entirely new, unexpected and even unwelcome direction.
When will the balloon come down? When is Jesus returning? Where will the Holy Spirit lead me next? Those are the questions that still await an answer.