Archives for June 2011

Morning Glories

Linking up with “Three – from Here and There” and their photo theme weekend.  
This week’s prompt?  Morning.
I’m not a morning person.
Give me a warm bed and a darkened room,
and I’ll sleep ’til noon, if allowed.
there are those mornings when I need to be up – 
and even a few when I choose to be up…
and I am always enthralled,
by what the world feels like
and looks like
in the earliest hours of the day.
It sometimes looks like this:
 Pelicans lined up in the coral light,
looking for breakfast.
Fisherfolk, gliding through ribbons of 
liquid bronze. 
 Cloud people playing tag overhead.
Home-building in the early light.
Paradise in pink & lavender.

Morning, it turns out, does not have a ‘u,’
even though my personal circadian rhythm 
is sometimes suspicious that it does.
Rather, morning can be a gracious, even holy time,
reminding me that everything in creation
gets a chance for a do-over.
Including me.

Pink Saturday

Found a fun new place to post pictures and see what others are up to at Beverly’s Pink Saturday.

A picture not yet posted on any other reports this week about my mom’s 90th birthday celebration – the fun pink glitter take-out boxes I found to hold mom’s favorite candies – Dots and Juicy Fruits!


Five Minute Friday: Home

Linking up with Lisa-Jo again this week, where in her words:

This is the time of the week when we steal those five minutes while the kids are fingerpainting the dining room table, the neighbor’s dog has stopped barking, or the microwave is popping some corn to splash down some thoughts on paper.

In just five minutes.

To paint a verbal picture. To just write and not worry if it’s just write or not.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 


It’s funny how the whole idea of ‘home’ morphs over time.  As I look back over my life, I’ve lived in about 16 different houses, most of which were also ‘home’ to me at some point in my journey.  Everything from a rented house in LA when I was 4 to a favorite home in Glendale between the ages of 12 and 18 to a furnished apartment in Santa Monica when I was a newlywed and finishing my senior year at UCLA to a 3 bedroom concrete block (to fight the termites, don’t you know) house in Choma, Zambia where we taught school for a couple of years, to each of the homes in which we raised our family (3 different ones) to the home we’re in now, many miles from where we spent most of our married life.

But as time passes, each one becomes ‘home’ for a while.  And each one carries a piece of my story.  And each one holds  happiness, growth, pain, anger, celebration, gratitude, beauty, family.  The one we’re in now is perhaps my very favorite of all.  It feels the most like us – whatever that means!  And we have loved these years in Santa Barbara.  But it took a while to be home, that is for sure.  30 years we lived elsewhere.  THIRTY YEARS.  So this place took a little gettin’ used to!  More small town, fewer shopping experiences.  Looser idea of schedule – too many beautiful places to meander off to.  Too much money in one rarified strata and way too little in the foundational one which makes the place run, the workers at the hotels and the restaurants and the kitchens and the schools.  

But now it is home.  The place where we live.  The place that holds our heart.  The place we are so very grateful we belong.


Glimpses of home…

On Father’s Day

Bonnie over at the Faith Barista invited us to reflect on Father’s Day this week.  My thoughts are a bit all over the map, but here they are:


                                     I apologize for the blurriness of this photo – someday, I will learn how to scan and save old ones!  This is a picture of a picture in a very scratched old collage frame which cannot be re-opened or I’ll lose everything in it.  Taken at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration on Kauai in 1991.  My parents had been married 64 years when Dad died.

It’s been six years now, six years since my dad died.  I still talk to him, though.  Most often that happens when I’m driving or sitting in solitude somewhere.  I’ve missed him so much these years – but I think I actually began to miss him even before he died.  Because one of the hardest parts about watching your parents age and become frail is the sad truth that pieces of them die before their body follows.

Two of my dad’s most defining characteristics, the ones that stood out for me all my life, just sort of disappeared in those last three or four years before death came knocking: his two deepest passions seemed to evaporate – his love for the piano and his care and concern for my mom.  

The first one was the most evident, I suppose.  All of his life, my dad played the piano, and he played it very well indeed.  So well that he became the family trophy when he was just a boy, trotted out at gatherings like a small super-star.  

And I think he had a pretty mixed attitude toward that.  He was a quiet kid and a quiet man.  He didn’t say much, but what he did say was always worth hearing, his well-chosen words revealing a deep intelligence, a very dry, wry humor or his love and appreciation for his family.  So being forced into the limelight didn’t sit well with him. 

However, if he wanted to be in the limelight, he went for it.   And if someone else got attention that he wasn’t entirely convinced was well-earned, he ever-so-quietly grumbled about that. He was the primary accompanist for congregational and choral singing in the church where I spent the first 12 years of my life and when we moved to a different community, it was sometimes hard for him to occupy more of a back-seat in the line-up of gifted pianists at our new church. 

But whether he had a specific ‘job’ connected to his music or not, my dad always, ALWAYS played.  He practiced hard, learning lots of different kinds and styles of music, from Chopin to Sondheim. Our home was filled with the sound of his big hands caressing those keys, working out intricate harmonies, repeating the tough parts until they literally sang their way into every room. He also had a wonderful ability to play by ear and created medleys of all kinds, entertaining friends and family, playing at banquets and other social gatherings. Even into his early 80’s, he enjoyed accompanying a community choral group near their home in Orange County.

Then Parkinson’s Disease arrived.  And dad could no longer control those great hands.  So the piano was played less and less.  As his personal care needs accelerated, my two brothers and I became concerned and we encouraged our folks to consider moving to a stepped-care retirement community. 

And when they did that, the baby grand piano moved to my daughter’s house, where her talented sons continue to play it.  We bought dad a great keyboard for their new apartment, one that looked like a spinet piano but sounded like a concert grand.  But I don’t think he ever really played it – the encroachment of neurological disease brought with it a deepening depression, a distancing from former loves, an inability to find pleasure in very much of what life had to offer him as a frail old man. How I missed that music!  And how he must have missed it, too. 

And that frailty, those insults to his sense of himself – these hard things also blinded him to the needs of his wife, his primary caregiver and faithful companion.  And for me, this was the death that was the very hardest of all. 

My parents shared a passionate connection and commitment to one another, an almost tangible spark passed between them as I was growing up under the umbrella of their love.  My mother was as vivacious and social as my dad was quiet and reflective, and somehow that balance worked well for them.  He adored her sparkle, she relied on his quiet strength. 

They always took time away together when we were kids and I always knew EXACTLY why they wanted and needed to do that.  I loved watching my father love my mom – it was one of the pillars of my life when I was a child and adolescent.  They were quietly affectionate and playful and were truly devoted to each other and to their marriage. Those first 15 years of retirement were great years for them – time spent traveling, playing tennis, entertaining, volunteering at their church and doting on their grandkids. 

My mom always thought that dad had rescued her, rescued her from her binge alcoholic father and her over-worked mother.  She loved her own family deeply and so did my dad, finding them to be warmer and more open than his own family of origin.  But my mom was the caregiver in her family home and dad saved her from that weight of worry and responsiblity.  And he introduced her to the world of higher education, valuing her natural intellecual gifts and helping her to blossom.  In return, she made him the center of her world and of our family, perhaps creating a high set of expectations, even a sense of entitlement in my dad. 

As his health deteriorated, he simply did not see the impact his care was having on my mother.  She became exhausted and overwhelmed, unprepared for the toll her devotion would take on her body and her spirit.  How I missed seeing that loving husband during those last months and years!   In the midst of my grief over his very serious health issues, I found myself sometimes angry at his inability to see beyond them and reach out to my mom in her fatigue.  The adult part of me knew that this was more than partially due to the ravaging effects of disease on my dad’s brain and nervous system.  But the child part?  The child part wanted my strong, quiet daddy to step up, to peek out and to reach out – to allow my mom a little respite, to care about her well-being as well as his own. 

And it’s the child part that still speaks to my dad as I drive and as I muse.  And I’m finding that the frustration and anger are dissipating and the confident, secure loving is ascending.  My father was and is one of God’s greatest gifts in my life.  He was not perfect, but I’ll tell you, he came damn close.  Up until that last bout with a devastating illness, he loved his wife and his family more than life.  He had a deep and quiet faith, he was an encourager, a questioner, a thinker, a fine teacher and academician, a noted statistician and author, a loving grandfather and one of the funniest people I ever knew.  And I miss him terribly almost every single day.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  I love you more than I can say.

Surprised by Grace

It was an exhausting week.
We worked on our house, 
we ran errands all over town,
we tried to remember the tons of details 
that come with entertaining three dozen folks, 
about 10 of whom are over 80.
We were celebrating my mom’s 90th 
and we wanted to do it up right – 
and I’d say we were successful.
It was a good party, people enjoyed each other,
we managed to stay warm,
despite the cool fog of early summer 
on the central coast of California.
And mom felt the love.
But Monday dawned and I was done.
Just done.
And still there were things to finish up.
So I headed out mid-morning,
taking some reading along 
for a much-needed lunch stop.
I went to a favorite beachside spot,
a place I’ve used for meetings with friends
and committees many times over these years.
And it was good to be there.
Good food, beautiful view.  DEEP breath.
I took some sweet leisurely time to just enjoy the time
and the spot and the … s-p-a-c-e.
So I sauntered back to my car after enjoying the beachside ambience, and looked up as I unlocked the door.
This is what I saw.
Soaring, swaying brilliant color and grace.
At least three separate kites were soaring from the hillside behind the restaurant.
Effortless flight, exhilarating lightness.
Surprising, serendipitous pictures of beauty,
graceful reminders of this season of Pentecost
which we’ve just begun.
So, I stood by my car, door open,
camera in hand, 
and looked around with
newly focused eyesight. 
 And I saw these sweet sparrows in the bare branches just to the left of the car.
 And these guys getting ready to fly above the birds.
 And this lovely, twisting tree, 
clinging to the cliff just behind me.  
I mean, I’ve probably eaten at this place 30 times – 
and I never saw this tree.
Tell me, what else have I missed in this life of mine?
How many beauties have I been too busy
or too tired,
or too distracted
to glory in?
 So I got in the car and tried to follow the sky people,
the ones brave enough to launch out into the blue.
I tried to find a spot to photograph them more closely,
but realized that this pesky tree was just in the way!
 And then,
I looked again.
And that pesky tree was another piece of glory in my day.
A row of flame trees – glowing, 
vibrating, radiating.
And I switched the focal point of my pictures,
loving the blur of the colorful kites behind the almost 
iridescent red flowers.
 So, I wonder.
What happens when we focus on one thing in this life,
one thing to the exclusion of others.
 In that singular process, I wonder how often is it true that we don’t see what is right in front of our faces?
That beautiful, deliriously inviting thing 
that God is doing just for our benefit;
that gift that’s waiting to be unwrapped and appreciated.
 What if I had fiddled with focus, 
moved around repeatedly to try and find a few more kites, 
or another vantage point,
free of these ‘pesky’ red flowers?
What if I had missed this?
Oh, Lord! May my eyes always be open 
to the beauty that you shower my way, 
the glory that is waiting,
just beyond the periphery of my
oh-so-limited vision, 
the surprising sweet fragrance of grace
that is tucked away in the
corners and crevasses of my everyday,
ordinary, extraordinary life.

Offering these thoughts and pictures to Laura, Laura and because I was too late for Jen at “Finding Heaven’s” Soli Deo Gratia sisterhood, also with Ann for her “Walk with Him Wednesday” series:

On In Around button

Living Gratefully, Week Three

Signing on with Michelle at “Graceful” for “Hear It, Use It” theme
(even though I didn’t hear it and therefore couldn’t use it),
and also joining 
with Ann at “A Holy Experience” for her 
Multitudes on Monday gratitude meme:
It’s been a wild and crazy week,
filled with celebration and hard work.  
Most every day was crowded with errand running, 
house cleaning and setting up to entertain a group 
of 35 on Sunday afternoon.
My mother is turning 90 on July 6th,
and Sunday was THE date that worked for the schedules of my cousins, who would need to bring their own elderly parents – my mom’s siblings – 
for any celebration we might plan.
Though we did not attend worship on Sunday morning,
we did manage to enjoy a teensy bit of reflective time 
amidst the hustle and bustle of hosting this crowd.
It was Pentecost Sunday – and I was deeply
grateful all day for the gift of the Holy Spirit
in my mom’s life, and in my own.
And somehow celebrating her long and faithful life
deepened and enriched that gratitude.
 27.  Helium balloons – a perfect symbol for Pentecost somehow!
 28.  Deep pink peonies, enough to fill four vases and bring bright beauty throughout the house.
 29. Light through the windows, one of the greatest gifts in this house God provided for us.
 30.  These colors, which just make me happy every
time I look at them.
31.  The realization that a solid year of discomfort and displacement is what made this working and entertaining space possible. Sometimes the loveliest graces come out of confusion and mess, don’t they?
 32.  My beautiful mom, Ruth, whose life has been a picture of redemption and gracious hospitality for as long 
as I can remember.
 33.  These crazy guys – with hearts like champions: 
three of our six grandsons, using the prop box set up with the picture board! (The one in the boa took all the ‘people pix’ for the day.  Thank you, Wes!)
 34.  The 5-year-olds getting into the act – with a ‘stalker’ cousin in the rear. 
 35.  This man, who worked valiantly all week long and who is such a great host.
 36.  This gorgeous daughter who came early and stayed late and helped so much.
 37.  An amazing dessert buffet, including a cheese-cake made my our 12-year-old grandson (GREAT stuff, Joel – thanks) and lemon bars and brownies from our sister-in-law 
(again – delish – thanks, Sandy).
 38.  Serendipitous sighting of these hang-gliders 
on Monday morning.
 39.  These spectacular flowers which I barely saw when I was trying to snap the big kites, but were right in front of my face.
 40.  Pig-tails for the first time.
41.  This sweet reminder of innocence and grace.
 Linking with Amanda at “Serenity Now” for this week’s Weekend Bloggy Reader:
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Settling In

Joining the Lauras very late this week – yes, it’s been that kind of week. Oy vey.
On In Around button

May I introduce you to…
…my office.
The one in my home, that is.
The one that has been sadly piled with box upon box,
memento upon memento,
for most of this year 
as I have slowly been moving
fourteen years of life and work 
out of the church and 
into this small space. 
 I love this room.
In 2002, we decided to add on to the home 
we had bought four years previously.
And we discovered that one of the city’s finest architects worshiped with us every Sunday morning.
So Don came and talked to us and walked around our house and our yard and about a week later, 
he came back with this amazing, 
genius design for a new master suite…
and a room we hadn’t asked for,
that I had never even dreamed of asking for –
“I want to do a study for you, Diana.
Just a small space, but we’ll put in a big window
so you can read and study
and write those sermons I love.”
 A space for me??
A space just for me??
When the framing went up, I actually wept 
as I walked between the studs. 
I had not had a room that was just for me
since I was seventeen years old.
I went directly from my parents’ home 
to a co-op of Christian women during my college years, 
to a small apartment in Santa Monica when I got married, midway through my senior year at UCLA.
A room of my own.
 But it has literally been unusable 
for about six months now,
and it was time.  
Past time, actually, to make a stab 
at integrating the detritus from my church office
and forming a space for me to sit 
and think and read and pray and write.
And a space to greet directees when they arrived.
So last week, I finished sorting.
And somehow managed to create a welcoming space – 
too cluttered, yes! –
but a room which reveals a real slice of my life,
and a place rich with reminders of my journey with God, reminders literally everywhere my eye lands.
 Yup, that’s pretty much me.
This framed card has come with me through
two church offices and now makes me smile at home.
This beautiful mahogany desk and chair were made for us by my husband’s cousin, a gifted furniture maker.
I asked for the two ‘bread boards’ on the sides because I never have enough spreading-out space.
And I asked that the center drawer have a drop down front so 
I could put my keyboard there when I had a PC.
Now, it holds my laptop. 
I am sure that the way-t00-many pictures and other assorted bric-a-brac will be thinned in months to come,
but at this point, I am not yet ready to part with any of it. 
 The always popular traveling pony-photograph that was ubiquitous in homes during the 50’s.  I was four.
The two women’s groups who have played 
such a key role in my story – the BBC  (the birthday group from my home church that I wrote about last week),
and the YaYas (a group of women pastors who have been soulmates throughout my professional life.)
  And an amazing collection of tiny scallop shells my kids and I gathered after a winter storm about 25 years ago.  
And the Weeping Savior, 
a wood carving brought back from Lithuania by a former boss. And that small basket with the five loaves and two fishes, which I bought at a local gift shop my first week 
on the job here in Santa Barbara, 
when I was so frightened and overwhelmed 
by the life changes we had just made.
A visible and tactile reminder 
that we serve a God of miracles 
and deeply personal provision.
The wooden spoon I used to hold the salt I would place on our confirmands tongues during their ‘big day’ in our Sunday morning worship each May.
Each piece holds a memory, a story, a reminder of grace.
It is so good to be back in this space again,
so good to see the next phase coming into focus.

Five Minute Friday: Backwards

Holy crap, it’s Friday again!  How does that happen so fast??  Taking five minutes for unedited, uninterrupted reflection on a theme, graciously and creatively provided each week by Lisa-Jo over at the Gypsy Mama.  This week’s theme has me a little stymied – let’s see where 5 minutes will take me:


When I was a ‘tweener’ (though when I was one, we never called it that!), I used to love to roller skate.  I owned a pair of clamp on skates and used to go (very, very carefully) down the big hill on which we lived.  I couldn’t screw up the courage [to] make it all the way to the bottom – the speed was just too intense for me – but I did go 6-8 houses at a time before pulling off into the grass to slow down.

But what I really loved to do was to go to the rink in town, put on those shoe skates and make big lazy circles around the wooden floor.  I even took some lessons there – and I learned how to skate backwards.

Oh, the joy of that movement.  I was not a natural athlete.  (Well, that is the understatement of the century!!!)  I did not do team sports.  I was always – and I do mean always – chosen last for any spontaneous games on the playground.  But skating?  I could do skating!  At least if there were wheels on the bottom of the shoe, and not blades.

I really enjoyed those outings to the rink.  Cheesy music and all.  It was freeing for me to be able to use my body in a semi-coordinated way, to feel it ‘work.’  That did not happen for me very often – it’s hard to be awkward and gangly and unable to do what others seem to do without effort.  Not exactly sure why that was true for me, but it was.  So roller-skating was dreamy – as close as I ever came to dancing – and I truly loved it.

And going backwards – that was the best part of all.  I did it easily, joyfully, repeatedly.  And I haven’t thought about that in YEARS.  Literally.  So thank you, Lisa-Jo, for this flash-from-the-past.  It is sweet to remember those moments of freedom.


I am so happy to report that my 5-year-old granddaughter has NOT ONE of my physical hang-ups about her body and how well it works.  I don’t have any photos of her (or me) roller-skating, but I do have these of the day last March when she rode her bicycle without training wheels for the first time.

 I love the shadow she cast as she started off down the driveway, 
fears carefully tucked away.
 And how earnestly she worked to stay upright as she pedaled around their cul-de-sac.
And how very proud she was of her great accomplishment! Go, Gracie!!

The Eyes Have It: Remembering Our Story

Bonnie, over at the Faith Barista, has invited us this week to share the story of how we met our spouse.  Well, it’s been quite a long time now, but I’ll give it a shot…

It was a fall evening and I was a brand-new first-year student at UCLA, newly graduated from high school, very wet behind the ears and commuting from my home in Glendale that first semester. 

My dad had been a part of a Christian fraternity when he attended the same school and I had been invited to attend an evening gathering for potential Little Sisters of that group.  I was nervous, but determined to put my best foot (and smile) forward and try out this social networking thing at my new school. Maybe it would be helpful to know that I was one of the ‘brainy’ kids in high school, taking honors classes and not learning a whole lot about social niceties, and with not much dating experience. 

So…I was making small talk with a number of very nice young men and more than a few kind and interesting young women.  Then, in the conversational group just to my right, I heard a warm laugh and turned to see where it was coming from. And that’s when I saw them. 

Those big, dark brown eyes – focused with kindness on the others in his group, nicely complementing a smiling face. “Who is that?”  I wondered, in between skipped heartbeats.  And I made it my business to find out before I left that evening: his name was Richard and he was a junior. 

Now I am almost embarrassed to admit this to you, but this is what I did.  Once I had his name and a little of his story up my sleeve, I did two things:  a.) I asked if I could borrow his bicycle – and I made sure to wear my most flattering bermuda shorts when I came over to take it out for a spin, and b.) I promptly looked up his class schedule – and over the course of the next few weeks, I made sure to re-arrange my own walking-from-class-to-class schedule in such a way that I walked by him, in the opposite direction once or twice every single day.  Equipped with a warm smile, a warm and breezy, “How are you today?”  I made sure I was somewhere in his vicinity several times every week. I also successfully pledged that Little Sister group and our social contacts became more frequent, allowing for deeper conversation. 

And I’m just remembering another rather tricky thing I did – I am, from this end of the story, rather amazed at my youthful and naive ability to scheme. I asked one of his fraternity brothers – a guy whose dad knew my dad – to ‘help me’ open my first ever checking account.  When Dick got wind that I had asked Don to do this, he very quickly asked if he could help me with any of those pesky details.  Well…yes, of course he could! And I spent one lovely afternoon, very early on, learning how to balance a checkbook and how to avoid overdraws.  (I found out a couple of years later that there was more than a little bit of  competitive undercurrent between those two – would you call that providential?)

Our first actual date was not with each other, but was a double date, each of us with someone else.  And so was our second date. Then we went on a weekend retreat with the InterVarsity chapter on campus, one that his uncle was leading.  And the rest, as they say, is history. 

I was seventeen when we met in October, seventeen on our first double-date-with-different-people, and eighteen when we went on that retreat in February.  By April of my first year, we were an item – discovering that our parents had known each other in college, that we shared many long term goals, and that we liked each other – a lot. And probably most important for the long-term success of our relationship and our marriage, we discovered a shared comic sensibility and we laughed together often, loudly and gladly.  We married midway through my senior year, when I was twenty years old. 

As our relationship unfolded, I quickly discovered that those lovely eyes reflected a quick intelligence, an intelligence very different from my own.  He was a business major, really good at ferreting out complicated investment issues.  He was also an athlete and I spent many warm spring afternoons watching him play tennis like a pro.  I was a good thinker, writer, public speaker and singer.  NOT an athlete, without a business gene in my body.  But we found that those differences made for an interesting balance in our relationship, one that we enjoy to this day – 48 years after meeting, 45+ years after marrying. 

Doesn’t sound terribly deep spiritually, does it?  No lengthy prayer session about who my life partner should be; no agonizing discussions with friends/family/pastors; no prayer times together, either.  (I do remember that a very popular Christian book at the time warned dating couples AGAINST praying together as it could easily lead to heated passionate exchanges as well…maybe that explains it.) 

But here’s something important I’ve learned over this long, interesting life we’ve lived together, with its many chapters, twists and turns: if each of you is seeking God, if both of you are open to possibilities, then you can rest with calm assurance in the truth that God moves with you in the choices you make. 

Are we perfect?  Are you kidding me??  Just ask our kids – or our grandkids. 

We bicker at times, we get fed-up with each other’s weak spots and we sometimes speak in tones that are far from dulcet. 

But you know what?  
     We are each other’s very best friends; 
     we share a history that is totally unique to us; 
     we have allowed God’s Spirit to help us evolve in our understanding of what marriage is all about; 
     we have remained open to surprise; 
     we have sought, with our whole hearts, to love each other even when we don’t like each other very much; 
     we have learned to love our kids with a passion that surprises us at times; 
     we have managed to love our grandkids and to enjoy them in ways we were not equipped to do when we were their parents’ parents;
     we have always found ways to serve others, both inside and outside the church, and taught/modeled the same for our kids;

     and we have leaned into God every step of the way, thankful in ways words cannot capture for the gift of faith, aware that we would not survive in this world without grace, and amazed by that truth every single day. 

Every single one. 

And all because of those eyes, those amazing, beautiful eyes. 
Thank you, Jesus.

Also linking with Ann for her Walk with Him Wednesday meme:


Ascension Sunday, 2011

Joining Michelle again at Graceful, a meme for which I am increasingly grateful as I re-enter church as a worshiper and not a planner/participant – so thanks, Michelle, for this call to listen and worship well.   

Also joining dear Jen at Finding Heaven and the sisters of the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood, because what I learn on Sundays is so often what I want to share with them:

Ascension Sunday. Not a date that Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, tend to notice much. And that’s our loss, because it is such an important part of our story as people who follow the Jesus way.
Because here’s the good news about the ascension: 
our incarnate Savior is reigning NOW, 
seated on the right hand of God.  
The plan of salvation is working its way through human history – there are no surprises for our Triune God.  
The man Jesus is now fully inhabiting heaven as the cosmic Christ – our Champion, our Forerunner, our Deliverer. Ascension Sunday reminds us who is really in charge.
But it is also a reminder that we have been invited to partner with the Sovereign God in the working out of the good news in this world.
Jesus’ words to his disciples, just before he disappeared from their sight, were words of instruction, encouragement and invitation:
“He opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures.  
And he said, ‘…with my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem… And now I will send the Holy Spirit,
just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes 
and fills you with power from heaven.'” (Luke 24:44, 47-48)
And the disciples response? Exactly what ours needs to be:
“They worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem 
filled with great joy.  
And they spent all of their time in the Temple, 
praising God.”  (vs. 52)
It begins with worship – which leads to joy – which leads them to wait for the Spirit to fill and move them.
to joy 
to waiting on God 
to moving wherever the Wind blows.
And that’s what we did, together, after the sermon.  We shared in communion as our gifted instrumentalists played two lovely and worshipful arrangements.  And we stood to sing, “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” in 4 part harmony, with trumpet descant – and the room fairly vibrated with joyful worship.
Now we wait for the Breath of God to move us, individually and collectively, into the nooks and crannies of our world, to bear the very fragrance of grace in Jesus’ name.  
Finding that balance between waiting and moving is sometimes tricky, though, isn’t it?  So we pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and hands and feet to move when the time is right.  And, oh yeah – a little joy would be good, too.