[forthright] A Witness to History

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2011 07:56:25 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

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A Witness to History
 by Sean Ashberry

What timing! We ended up in Florida at the same time
the shuttle Atlantis was scheduled for its final
launch. Not just its final launch, but the close of the
shuttle era.

I remember when that first shuttle launched. And I
remember watching on TV in my high school when the
Challenger exploded. I remember vividly some years
later watching the news of another tragedy unfold in
the skies over Texas.

The shuttle program has been a major accomplishment
during my lifetime. So for me to have the opportunity
to see a live launch was, dare I say, once in a

Once we heard there were a million people crammed into
Cape Canaveral and the surrounding towns, we decided to
stay at Dayton Beach and watch. It was cloudy so we
didn't have high hopes of seeing much. But we'd see
something and that was the important thing.

As launch time approached and the countdown fell within
one minute of launch, we stood on the beach and looked
towards the horizon. What struck me in all of this was
how still and quiet Dayton Beach became.

The ocean itself hit the mute button. Someone on a
balcony counted, "seven, six, five, four, three, two,

As I looked to the horizon I saw the brightest burning
flame rapidly ascend into the clouds. It broke through
for another couple of seconds and then it was gone.

It was as bright as a welder's arc and quicker than
anything I've seen fly. I have never seen anything like
it. That's when my son Jackson asked where the aliens
were going!

I thought about what it must have been like as the
disciples stood and watched Jesus ascend. They had
never seen anything like that either. But, of course,
after you witness a man brutally murdered then raised
from the dead, is anything too marvelous?

They, like Jackson, had some confused thoughts
surrounding the event.

In Acts 1:11, the angels told them not to be puzzled.
Jesus would return in the same manner that he left.
That shuttle will also return in a like manner in which
it left. However, it will be retired and put in a

When Jesus returns, it will be a glorious and
magnificent event. And people will likely stand in
stunned silence at the sight and sound. And those who
have put on Christ in baptism will be taken up with him
to eternal glory.

But this time I'll have a front row seat. How about
Sean is the involvement and outreach minister at Somers 
Avenue church in North Little Rock, Ark.

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