The scene was one of ordered chaos. Marshmallows were on fire, kids were running everywhere, and handfuls of leaves were being thrown into the hair of unsuspecting victims. There was a steady din of noise infused with laughter. The atmosphere was crackling with life.
I was standing on the church steps looking out over our Kids’ Club event that takes place twice each month. This week had a bit of novelty. My parents are here visiting for Quentin’s birthday and we asked them to bring the necessary ingredients for s’mores. This idea all started from a conversation we had with our friends Paul and Hope. After describing what s’mores are, Hope insisted that we help her experience this very American campfire food. So this Sunday we made s’mores at Kid’s Club, with ingredients lovingly supplied from my parents’ suitcases. The word had gotten out and over 40 adults and children turned up for the fun.
As I smelled the smoke from the fire, led the group in a rowdy rendition of “Spring Up O Well,” and listened to Elizabeth tell the story of Paul’s Damascus Road Experience, I was struck by the story that God is weaving here. In many ways it felt like a beginning. Like a huge breath has just been taken in and is now ready to exhale flowing forth into the world around us. God is up to something, something big, something transformational, something redeeming.
On May 5 (Thursday) we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord. We remember that Christ has not only risen but has ascended into heaven. But wait there’s more! The Good News is not yet all told. In Luke 24:49 Jesus’ last words to his disciples before ascending are “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
That’s right, Jesus told his disciples to wait, and in waiting to anticipate the power of the Holy Spirit that would come from on high and cloth them. It would be this outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would send the disciples pouring into the world at Pentecost. It’s as if the story of redemption has been breathed in, Jesus has returned to His rightful place, and the disciples, along with all of creation, anticipate the exhale, the outpoured breath that must surely come. The breath of God that will light the fires of salvation and redemption and send them raging throughout the world.
This passage resonates with me today. It feels familiar, real, true, alive. I feel like the disciples must have felt. Christ is clearly on the throne. Christ has all power and authority. Christ has set the stage. The inhale has taken place, and so we anticipate the exhale. The outpouring is coming and it is coming soon. God is at work here. I see it in the faces of the families at Kids’ Club. I hear it in the voices of those not sure what to think of the church. I see it in the colors of the Mongrel Mob down the street. I hear it in the questions of those honestly seeking the face of Christ.
And so I anticipate the incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I look forward to the exhale, to living the story that will be woven. We have glimpsed a new beginning and we look forward with great anticipation to the life that is to come. We are excited to see women and men experience the love of Christ and be caught up in the flow of the Holy Spirit as it flows across our city and beyond.