Growth, I believe, is an intentional process.
The disciples were just getting used to a new normal, when forty days into things Jesus let them know that more change was ahead, “Wait here, until…”
I don’t know about you, but who wants to listen to, “wait here until…”
There comes that moment when you have to make a decision. You know it is not an easy decision, but it could make all the difference in the world. Do you keep walking, or do you give up? Do you face what you are afraid of or do you live in denial? Do you step into your dream or do you let the questions hold you back? And when you finally make the decision —- “wait …”?
In Matthew 28 Jesus tells his followers to go into all the world and make disciples, and now, in the book of Acts, Jesus asks them to wait. While we recognize that those words are not written like chapters in a novel, where one thing follows another, in my devotional reading this week, I was struck at the juxtaposition of these two passages selected by the author of the devotional guide. Go, but not yet.
What do you do when you are asked to wait? Grumble, eat, go for a walk? For Jesus there was purpose in the waiting. Watch, pray, prepare yourself. It’s not just idle time, or a waste of time. This waiting until is important. In Adam Hamilton’s book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It, we get a glimpse into how intentional John Wesley was when it came to developing an atmosphere of transformation.
At Oxford, the small band of Christians Wesley was mentoring shared his longing for holiness. For Wesley and his friends, holiness included a complete yielding of one’s life to God, a desire to become like Christ in heart and actions, acts of compassion for others, and a resolution to live one’s life for God’s glory. Among the ways Wesley pursued this quest for holiness was rising at four or five o’clock in the morning for private prayer; (page 49).
We all have choices about how we wait. So, I want to invite you to an intentional waiting with one another. Thursday, May 21, is Ascension Day. It marks the beginning of a 10-day period between the day when Jesus no longer walked with his followers, to the time when the gift of God’s spirit was given on Pentecost.
I want to invite you to join me in an intentional time of prayer and fasting for 10 days from May 21 until May 31. Ten days of prayer. Ten days of yielding our lives to God. Ten days of asking God to help us to grow in Christ-likeness in heart and action. You may be tired of the suspension of in-person worship, yet it provides for us an opportunity to journey with those first disciples.
Jesus has important work for us to do when the suspension is lifted. Let us make the most of this “wait until…” time in which we find ourselves.
Will you join me in prayer starting on May 21? To guide your prayer time, let me give you these questions to ponder:
- What have I learned about myself through the stay at home time?
- What have we learned as a church?
- What do we want to carry into a new day?
- What do we want to leave behind?
- How has this time changed me/us for God’s good purpose?
Wait until is important time. If we are fortunate, it will make all the difference.
Let me know what you discover as we spend 10 days in prayer together, separately. Then on May 31 you are invited to join Bishop Bob Hoshibata and others throughout the conference in a special online time of worship for Pentecost Sunday. (Your pastor will provide the information and links to enable you to be part of this conference-wide time of worship.)
It is a positive word we receive from Jesus – together, we will wait until…
Holding you in prayer.