June 12, 2022

When We Feel God's Absence

Pastor KJ Kim

Acts 1: 6-14

In today’s passage, we just read about how the risen Jesus disappeared--led his disciples to a mount called Olivet, and spoke to them for the last time, and ascended into a cloud for good.

Ever since then, over the last two thousand years, we are still waiting and still watching the sky. The Christ is not present anymore, not the way he used to be, known as the Ascension day that is the day the present Lord became absent.

How often do we feel God’s absence—in our hollow nights, our pounding and broken hearts, horrific wars and violence, tragic accidents, or our unanswered prayers? In fact, we gather here to seek God’s presence which we have been missing, don’t we?

What makes absence hurt, what makes it ache, is the memory of what used to be there but is no longer, such as the child’s room now empty and hung with silence and dust. However, we cannot miss what we have ever known, which makes our sense of absence greater, especially our sense of God’s absence.

If we may sense God’s absence these days, this is the very best proof that we knew God once, and that we may know God again. There is loss in absence, but there is also hope; because what happened once can happen again and only an empty cup can be filled. It may happen only to those who pull that cup out of hiding, those who know the emptiness and the absence,
and those who are longing for filling inside.

“Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” This question redirected the disciples’ eyes from looking into the sky to looking at each other instead.

With nothing but a promise and a prayer, those eleven disciples consented to become the church, and nothing was ever the same again, beginning with them. The followers became leaders; the listeners became preachers; the converts became missionaries; the wounded became healers. The disciples became the church, witnesses of the risen Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and nothing was ever the same again.

Like the mount called Olivet in today’s passage, I invite us to think of our own places when we have a sense of God’s absence. And, we begin to look at each other, and be the church together. Then, who knows what surprising things may begin to happen with us and by us as the disciples did.

It is time not only for looking toward heaven, but also for looking at each other and looking around. It is time to restart the business of being the church together. It is time to reveal God’s presence within a seemingly-God-absent-world.

Thanks be to God.