Tomorrow is Ascension Day, a little-remembered observance in most churches these days. But on Sunday I'll be preaching on the Ascension texts, and, in the meantime, I'm thinking back to church last Sunday, when I saw two things that have stayed with me.
(Okay, three, but the third one is more of an aside.)
At our contemporary worship service on Sunday a fourth grade girl read the lesson from Acts: you might remember, if you think -- "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" was Paul's vision. The reading included lots of difficult names of towns. When I heard this young girl was reading, I immediately felt a twinge of pity: almost as bad as getting the Pentecost reading!
But she strode up to the Lecturn, pulled the microphone down so that it was at the right height for her, and read with something like aplomb. When she finished, she put the microphone up in its rightful place and returned to her seat.
That was the first thing that stayed with me.
The second was this: the Cherubs sang a simple song: "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart." They sang that they had the joy in their heart, and in their feet, and in their hands, and in their legs. It was great. And in the middle of the song, it happened: a four your old boy reached up, and grabbed one of the standing mikes and pulled it down so that it was right in front of his mouth.
This was the second thing.
(The third: from the traditional service -- a fantastic a capalla processional with the choir and a drummer: "Christ is arisen, Alleluia." No microphone necessary.)
So tomorrow is Ascension Day. Tomorrow Jesus stands in front of his disciples and tells them that they will receive power from on high and that they will be his witnesses. And somehow these words --power and witness -- connect with the images I saw on Sunday -- the images of the children taking hold of the microphone and speaking.
That's what the disciples are going to do. They are going to take hold of the power and speak. They are going to tell the truth about Jesus, and the kingdom, and the world. They are going to be God's people, and not just in the church on Sunday for an hour, but where-ever they go in the world.
Church on Sunday is not a bad place to practice, though.
First, Jesus has to ascend.
But then, the Spirit will come down, the power will come down. The microphone will be in our hands. That's the way God has always intended it.