Dear Hyde Park Family,
A few weeks ago, my daughters and I spent a few days vacationing at a nearby hotel. Lounging poolside, I noticed a group of older elementary-aged kids, laughing and jabbering as they swam.
Then, we all looked up at the sky, and noticed an airplane skywriter. As the pilot began writing a smiley-face symbol, I couldn’t help but overhear what the kids around me were saying.
Look! There’s a smiley face in the sky!
Yeah, that’s neat!
Hey! Now it’s drawing a letter!
🙂 … J …
It’s the letter J!
🙂 … J … E …
Cool! It’s spelling my name! Jenna! It’s saying “Smile, Jenna!”
That’s stupid. Why would it be saying “Smile, Jenna?”
🙂 … J … E … S …
(At this point, I was less interested in the fact that the skywriter was clearly spelling Jesus, and much more interested in the slow-boiling skirmish erupting among these kids at the pool.)
🙂 … J … E … S … U … S …
See, Jenna. It says, “Jesus.”
“Happy Jesus?” I don’t get it. That’s dumb.
Hey, look, Jenna! (pointing to a boy nearby) There’s that boy you like!
“Hey!” (calling out to the boy across the pool.) “My friend likes you.”
STOP! Why would you do that! I’m never talking to you again!
🙂 … J … E … S … U … S … L …
Hey, Look! It’s still writing letters! Jesus L? What does that mean?
(Kids stop their bickering for a minute, as they watch the skywriter.)
🙂 … J … E … S … U … S … L … O …
Hey, I get it! It’s going to say Jesus LOL!
Jesus LOL? That’s ridiculous! What does that even mean?
It’s saying Jesus is happy! And that smiley face is him!
Oh, yeah? Why don’t you ask your boyfriend over there?
🙂 … J … E … S … U … S … L … O … V …
(At this point, I was fairly sure that the skywriter was going to spell out “Jesus Loves You.” But as I listened to these children snipe and snap at each other, much as kids do, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Here was the message of God’s love, stated as plain as day by a plane in the sky. And it was hardly making a difference, at least to us spectators at that hotel pool.)
🙂 … J … E … S … U … S … L … O … V … E … S … U
By the time the plane finished its last word – the letter “U” instead of spelling out the full word – the original symbol of the smiley face had already started to dissipate into oblivion. And as I continued to listen to these distracted, hormone-induced kids splashing and sparring, a flash of Scripture came to mind. It’s the text for this Sunday, as we join with Christians around the world in observing the Ascension of our Lord:
While Jesus was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven?” (Acts 1:11)
Indeed, what good does it do to keep staring up at heaven, if it’s not going to impact at all the way we live, the way we think, and the way we treat other people? Maybe we’re not too unlike those kids at the pool. There it is, the good news of God’s amazing love, staring us right in the face, like a skywriter out of the blue, but making very little difference in what happens down here on the ground.
Join us this Sunday, as we explore the meaning of Jesus’ ascension for our lives, so that we can take this message of God’s love and make it real …
… before the chance to do so dissipates into thin air.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist