Read Acts 1:1-11
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
My family and I just took a trip to see the Broadway play, “Wicked”, which is a musical about the Wicked Witch of the West (of Wizard of Oz fame). But this play, which is based off of the parallel novel by Gregory Maguire, takes a significant twist from L. Frank Baum’s novel. In this version, the Wicked Witch is not wicked at all, in fact, she is a well-intentioned animal-activist who becomes labeled “Wicked” because, in part, her appearance and because she refused to play by the rules. Well, there is a lot more to it than that, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for those who have yet to see and/or read it.
Before the first act closes, Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch) is preparing to stand up against what she believes is injustice. Glinda, who is her friend, tries to talk her out of it; however, Elphaba will not be dissuaded; rather, she casts a spell on a common broom, and with it, begins to levitate up into the air. As she does her cape expands (or the lighting makes it seem that way) and is flapping through the air. During this whole scene she is singing the song, “Defying Gravity.” It is quite the spectacle.
I was moved, a lot, by the lyrics of the song: “Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap! It’s time to try defying gravity! I think I’ll try defying gravity, and you can’t pull me down!
The words caused me to pause and reflect on the life of Jesus. He too lived a life in defiance of the status quo. He refused to follow the rules just for the sake of following them. He took the risk to defy the forces that be in order to bring hope, healing and wholeness into a very broken world. As a result, he was labeled “wicked” by those who opposed him. He was betrayed by those closest to him and executed for crimes he never committed; however, he dared to defy gravity and truly no one could pull him down.
In the first chapter in Acts, we see Jesus literally defying gravity as he ascends to heaven after having been resurrected from the dead only forty-days earlier. In another ten days, the holy spirit would come and fill his disciples and they, too, would begin to defy gravity in order to continue the work of the Christ, which is to bear hope, healing and wholeness to broken people in a broken, dark, downtrodden world.
Rather than letting gravity pull you down, rather than let the weight of the world crush you, perhaps its time to place your faith in God and watch how you levitate to heights you never dreamed possible. Perhaps it is time for you to start defying gravity, perhaps it is time for you to rise up out of the rules you find yourself bound to. Perhaps it is time for you to clothe yourself with the cloak of God’s presence so that you, like the apostles and the saints before you, can bear hope, healing, and wholeness to a world that desperately needs it. If that makes you a little “wicked” in the world’s eyes…so be it! Be all that God is calling you to be!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” – Robert H. Schuller
Lord, lift me up so that I may rise above what the world says I am and be transformed into all that you want me to be. Amen.