We in the in-between season for the church. We’ve ticked off our list the big festival of Easter as we’ve celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. It’s been good to revisit the evidence that demands a verdict and realize once again that we have a faith that was revealed through historic events. These weren’t the imaginings of a few dreamy fans, but the convictions of eyewitnesses. They went on to courageously proclaim the good news of how Jesus had dealt a knockout blow to death and therefore he had indeed dealt with sin. But the first thing that the risen Jesus told his followers was to wait for him in Jerusalem. Why wait?
So much of life seems to involve waiting. We wait for a guest to arrive, or a parcel to be delivered, or for the course of treatment to be completed, for exams to start and end, for a baby to be born, for inspiration to come, for a promise to be kept or to be chosen for the team. For activists this is especially tricky to handle!
Jesus said: ‘do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 1v4-5). It seems so counter-intuitive! Surely, they should get on with carrying out the urgent mission of taking the gospel message out, for it was a global task and no time should be wasted? But one principle stands out. We are to wait on the Lord.
So, the waiting had to come before the serving. It’s a pattern we see in the message of the gospel – we all need to depend on Jesus to reconcile us to God. We can’t do it by our own efforts. We also have to admit our need for His help to serve him. As we ask Jesus for help He equips us with all the resources of heaven that we need to serve Him.
It’s said that a church is as strong as its prayer life. As the Church of England commits itself to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’, we are reminded to wait before we serve. So, I look forward to being joined by many in this.