Scripture: Acts 1:12-26
What does it look like to love the risen Lord? Sometimes–much more often than we’d like–it looks like waiting.
In the book of Acts, Luke tells us that Jesus spent 40 days with his followers after his resurrection. It was a season full of meals and ministry and teaching about the Kingdom of God. And that season culminated in the ascension–Jesus and his disciples climbed the Mount of Olives and returned to the Father, and Jesus’ last words to them were–return to Jerusalem and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Full of hope, fear and confusion, full of love and full of grief–at first, the disciples did just that. They returned to the upper room and they waited…for a while. And when waiting grew too uncomfortable, they quit and did what seemed best in their own eyes. How often do we do the same?
As we struggle to grieve and make sense of last week’s horrific terrorist attacks–this is a particularly hard and holy word.
Beloved ones–sometimes God asks us to wait. Love for God compels us to act, but also–sometimes–to refrain from acting until we are equipped to move with Jesus and not ahead of him. The disciples were so eager for the Kingdom of God to come, they couldn’t stand to wait. Often the most difficult thing God requires of us is nothing–not to rush ahead, not to fill the space, not to make a plan–not to start before we are ready. Those who love the Holy One must learn how to wait.
In three Sundays, we will celebrate Pentecost–the day God kept the promise and gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples. It’s coming–but it’s not here yet. Like the first disciples, we too are in the season between Easter and Pentecost. We too must learn to listen and wait on the Lord.
It’s so much harder than it seems. The first disciples couldn’t do it. This Sunday we’re gathering around the story of what they did instead of waiting. For me, looking into this passage has been like looking into a mirror. I hope you’ll listen, to learn why and how to wait, and the good news of what God does when we just can’t manage it.
p.s. Friends–we will be lifting up the names of those lost in last weekend’s mass shootings and addressing this tragedy in the message. I wanted to let you know so you could make wise decisions about stewarding your mental health.