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August 1, 2016: Wait and Pray!

She handed us towels, and we eagerly tied them around our necks.  As soon as we did so we felt we had gained all the powers of the super-hero we watched on the screen of our 19-inch black-and-white television.  We believed that we could move faster than a speeding bullet, that we were more powerful than a locomotive, and that we could leap tall buildings.  We held out our arms and moved through the house and the yard wreaking havoc wherever we went.  Fortunately our imaginations never carried us so far as to leap off anything higher than the low-slung porch of my grandmother’s white farmhouse.

There’s nothing much worse than feeling “grounded,” stuck in one place, unable to find power or direction, or hope for anything other than the current circumstances.  That’s the way the disciples must have felt in the days following Jesus’ death and burial in a borrowed tomb.  They were fearful for their own lives.  The cruelty of the world baffled them.  The pain of living in the face of such events almost overcame them.  They struggled over and over again to try to mesh the stories Jesus had told them—about their doing even greater things than those he did while on this earth—set against their current state of affairs so as to make sense of them.

The Psalmist had it right!  “Joy comes in the morning”—or more specifically on the third morning!  Joy comes as the resurrected Jesus steps onto the stage and speaks his words of peace. 

The joy came laden with the need to go and tell, to speak words of peace, to bind up wounds, to heal the sick and the suffering, to cast out demons in his name, to go to the ends of the earth, to baptize in his name!  But despite the joy in their hearts, despite the desire to be the speeding bullet moving toward others with the good news of the gospel, despite their desire to leap over obstacles that might have deterred them, they still lacked the power to get the job done! 

For that the risen Christ tells them to wait—wait and pray!  So simple and yet so hard!

As the church we sometimes will do anything else other than wait and pray!  We will leap into action before asking for God’s guidance toward appropriate action.  We will form committees.  We will study something to the point all the life has been sucked out of it.  We will talk to every guru searching for guidance.  We will copy the action plan of the church down the block.  We will turn to our memories of the good things that happened in days gone by and decide they are appropriate guides for the present.

Wait! Wait and pray!  Why don’t we try it out?  It worked well for disciples two thousand years ago.  As they waited and prayed God supplied the gift of the HoGod’s calling and God’s promise are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

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