Frank Sinatra sang it in the 1960s and it can be said with a confident hope in and for the future—The best is yet to come.
We could well make that the title of a chapter of the Easter story. As I have shared in this space over the last few weeks, I do not believe Easter is solely one day of celebration. Instead, I believe Easter to be a continual celebration, and the story of Easter is still being written. I say that because of the events Scripture tells us occurred after Resurrection Day. The risen Jesus appeared to, and met with, his disciples for a period of 50 days after the Resurrection. On the 50th day, Jesus ascended to heaven.
This is a part of the story of Jesus that sometimes gets overlooked. For Jesus to ascend means that Jesus now reigns in glory at the right of the Father for all eternity. Jesus has reclaimed his place in glory! At first glance, the thought that Jesus has departed from this world can be a tad disheartening. But Jesus told us that was for our benefit!
In John 16, Jesus teaches his followers a bit about the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit will be to teach us and lead us “in all truth”; there were those things the disciples still needed to know and learn, but they weren’t quite ready to receive it at that moment.
But the Spirit couldn’t come if Jesus were still in the world! Because Jesus ascended to glory, the Spirit was free to come—to teach us, to guide us, to empower us, to be a constant reminder of the presence and grace of God. Jesus ascended, not only to reclaim His eternal throne, but because for creation, the best was yet to come!
As we live in these days, I cannot help but think this could also be true for us. I believe our best life may well come on the other side of stay-at-home and self-isolate.
These days have taught us what is important in life. These days have given us pause to examine and evaluate our priorities. The temptation can be to jump back into our “old life” feet first—as if this time was a momentary “time-out.” But these days can be an invitation to prune from our lives those things that were life-sapping, rather than lifegiving.
The best can be yet to come for our personal spiritual journey, as well as for our churches. Maybe these days have allowed us to draw closer to God. Perhaps our experiences have caused some to seek out God in new ways. Still again, others may have come to lean upon or embrace faith for the first time.
These days of pause allow us to start afresh on the other side, whenever that be. They allow us to do something new, start a new or fresh routine, live and relate to God and others in a new way. The possibilities are ENDLESS! For our churches, my prayer is, and will continue to be, that Beardstown might experience a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. I pray the Spirit might be poured upon the people and churches of this community in such powerful ways that there is no denying that God is up to something.
There are times when it seems that all we hear about concerning the church is nothing but negativity and decline. I do not believe this is God’s intention for the Bride of Christ. I believe God can, and will, do signs and wonders in this community like no one has seen!
I don’t have a crystal ball. I have no idea when things will “open up.” I have no idea what things will look like. But this I do know, and this is my hope for us all—the best is yet to come!