Blessings on Ascension Day 2021, the celebration of Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after his resurrection. Jesus spent this day preparing his disciples for his departure, reminding them he had promised not to leave them comfortless and asking them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples wanted details – when, where and what’s next? Jesus offered no direct answers, saying instead, “It is not yours to know,” but promising they would have the power to continue his mission to be witnesses” to the ends of the earth.”
“What’s next?” is the question of the moment as we begin to emerge from the constraints of the pandemic.
While the pandemic regulations were imposed suddenly, the transition toward opening is more uneven, less clear-cut and dependent on individual circumstances. The answer to “what’s next?” varies from person to person and location to location. There are areas of the world where the pandemic still rages uncontrolled and areas of the country that still see spiking numbers.
As a community of faith here in Cabarrus County, we are also asking “What’s next for All Saints’?” While the Bishop’s closure of our building and the resulting shift to online worship was immediate, decisive, and affected all of us as a whole, this transition period is much more fluid and dependent on the decisions of individuals in the community.
When the disciples asked, “What’s next,” Jesus told them to continue the mission, to continue to be witnesses to the Good News of God.
I am grateful that numbers continue to fall in North Carolina, and in Cabarrus County, specifically. I look forward to our planned indoor, in-person worship at 9 and 11:10 AM on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, even as I recognize that we need to continue to be vigilant and this is not “over.”
I am excited by the conversations I hear. We are asking one another “What’s next?” We may not have all the answers, but we are living in expectancy of the Holy Spirit alive and active in this community. In that spirit, I invite you to participate in a three-part series “Life after Lockdown,” which will be offered both in-person and online, during the month of June.
- Online, Wednesday evenings, 7-8 PM – June 2, 9, 16
- In-person, Sunday mornings at 10-11 AM – June 6, 13, 20
In both groups, we will look briefly at the history of the church’s response to pandemic and talk with one another about our own experiences. We’ll take note of what we have learned about ourselves, our church and our culture in this time and listen for where we hear the Holy Spirit moving us as a community of faith.
As always, as people of faith, we may not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. And that allows us to move with confidence as we take up the question “What’s next?”