“Living Above Transition and Change”
Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan AME Church
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Scripture Lesson Act 1: 1-11–To the Ends of the World 1-5Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.” When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” 7-8He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” 9-11These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.” The Message Bible translation
After the crucifixion and the resurrection, Jesus’disciples knew what it meant to live life daily in transition and change; there was never a dull moment for them. In the scripture, Jesus is about to leave the men he had been coaching for the past three years. They were filled with anxiety. They had somehow gotten through Jesus’ crucifixion; then they had to get through the resurrection; then he presented himself alive over a period of 40 days. Now, Jesus is taken away again, creating another moment of fear and frustration, and yet another transitional moment.
None of us is a stranger to change; transitional moments are constant. Before long, we come to realize that “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another”; it’s “here we go again” – losing people in our lives that we love; losing jobs; losing homes – transitional moments. It often seems as if we are living from heights…to depths….to heights.
In the scripture, the disciples watched as Jesus “was taken up and disappeared into the clouds.” Has life ever caught you in a moment and left you speechless? Has there ever been a moment when all you could do was just stand there and look? This event (of Jesus ascending into heaven) will linger in the disciples’ minds for the rest of their lives. The last picture they would have of their life with Jesus would not be one of suffering; the last picture would be of their glorious, triumphant Lord rising triumphantly into heaven, having overcome every obstacle, every shackle.
The message from the scripture is this: Keep your eyes fixed on the glorious, resurrected, exultant Jesus. When you encounter hell on earth, fix your eye on the triumphant Jesus. Throughout your life, you will always have to deal with transition and change, ups and downs, “questions marks” and “whys?”. But you don’t have to live in the cemetery. You don’t have to live faithless, without a paddle or a boat. Fix your eyes on HIM, and He will give you the courage and the strength to overcome every challenge. There will be moments when you wonder, “Is Jesus absent from my life?” There will be moments when it seems, Jesus is absent, so it takes a tremendous FAITH to weather transitions. It takes enormous faith to live through these moments.
The disciples wanted something to hold onto; they wanted to know what was going to happen tomorrow, after Jesus left. But Jesus said “You don’t get to know that.” You have to muster up every ounce of faith you can muster or you will end up drowning in your own misery and suffering. I don’t what they say on TV; I don’t care what the palm reader told you: you don’t get to know about tomorrow until you get to tomorrow.
It takes a whole lot of faith to get up in the morning, to deal with that child when you KNOW he’s on drugs. It takes a whole lotta faith to grin and bear it, to keep on smiling, to say “yes” when you want to say “no”. It takes a whole lotta faith to keep from telling people where to go. My dear mother lived every day on faith, not by faith, but on faith. She used to get up in the morning singing: “There is no secret what God can do, what He’s done for others, He will do for you!”
If you want to live through life’s changes and transitions, if you want to live your life above gloom, live every day anticipating a blessing. No matter how hopeless things seem,, when you go to bed tonight, anticipate a blessing! When you wake up tomorrow morning, anticipate a blessing!
- Sermon Notes: Living a Marked Life
- Living Above Transition and Change
- Sermon Notes: When Mountains Loom Larger Than Faith
- Sermon Notes: When You Need to Hear a Good Word
- Sermon Notes: When God Goes to Work in a Life
Tags: Change, Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, Transition