Thursday, October 20, 2016

Patient Living

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.  Acts 1:14

After Jesus ascends to Heaven, the disciples gather in Jerusalem and wait! The believers, including the disciples, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, the brothers of Jesus, meet together fervently praying and waiting. There are now 120 believers (Acts 1:15). The disciples need to replace Judas Iscariot, the one who had betrayed Jesus. Considering the parameters, to be a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22), after prayer Matthias becomes the 12th disciple. These days of waiting are the beginning of the Christian church. For now, they wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In the waiting, Jesus words, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes likely replays in their minds, enters their discussions, and holds a prominent place in their prayers. In the waiting, perhaps they wonder exactly when and how this will happen. As they welcome Matthias into the inner circle, maybe they retell Jesus' words before He ascended into heaven or discuss what being witnesses "to the ends of the earth" might look like or perhaps they even recall those other times that Jesus had told them about sending the Holy Spirit. While waiting for something they could not fully grasp, for a power they could not exactly define, for a moment they could not completely predict, they pray.

Henri Nouwen writes about waiting as moments "pregnant with possibility" and "giving up all my attempts to control". Describing waiting as "a period of learning", Nouwen is not defining waiting as passive, rather as an active period of time, a vital and engaged time, a time of patience. He says, "patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there." The new believers of the first church actively wait in prayer and preparation, together in community and fellowship, with an assurance from Christ. I long to be better at waiting, to be more present in the moments of hope, to be patient in the silences, to find freedom in allowing the Spirit of God to lead me. How about you? How do you WAIT?  ~dho 

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