As I write this – in the wee hours of Friday morning – I’m waiting for my wife to arrive home. Hopefully, I’ll have been asleep for a little while when she arrives, as she’s not expected until 2 or 3 a.m., but I am anticipating her arrival with some delight. She’s been away at the Orange conference in Atlanta, Georgia. She and her travelling companions have, by all reports, had a great time of learning and fellowship, and will be implementing what they’ve learned.
Diana and I are not fond of being apart for such spans of time (she’s been gone since Saturday night). I suppose this is natural for two people who are head-over-heels in love with each other (yes, even after 16 years). When it’s me who’s left at home, which is the less common scenario, I begin preparing for her return almost as soon as she leaves. This is not only an emotional anticipation, but a physical one, too. Usually, I clean house. This time around, I cleaned house and had some new windows and doors installed. Unfortunately, I’m not talented enough to make curtains for those new windows! Still, when she’s gone, I prepare for her return.
Thursday of this week may have passed by without much note, but in the traditional church calendar, it was Ascension Day. It always falls on a Thursday, because it’s 40 days after Easter, which is always on a Sunday. Ascension Day celebrates the time when the risen Lord Jesus commissioned his disciples for their future ministry and ascended into heaven to take his seat at the right hand of the Father (Acts 1).
Even as Jesus ascended, he promised that he would come again. There isn’t much that we know about the second coming of Jesus. He himself said that only the Father knows the timeline (Mark 13.32). Jesus even gives some advice on how to be ready for his return: “And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” (Mark 13.33, NLT).
When Jesus ascended, his friends began their ministry in earnest, and throughout the New Testament, we see their witness as preparing for his coming again.
What do we do, as followers of Jesus, to prepare daily for his return? It could happen at any moment. It’s not a matter of fear, but of faithfulness.