Not So Fast

May 3rd, 2015 Posted in writing

At the time of Jesus’ ascension to heaven, he took his disciples outside Jerusalem to a nearby hill, where he left them with one instruction: Go back into the city and wait for the Holy Spirit. If I’d been there I’m sure I would have wanted to know more, like where in the city should we wait? how long would we be waiting? how should we spend the time?

They say that patience is a virtue; but if you are like me, most of the time you prefer “doing” to “waiting.” So, when it comes to faith, we might think that we should do be out doing something to help others, make the world better or take the message of Jesus into our surroundings.

But Shakespeare’s Hamlet says, “the readiness is all.” And getting ready can mean waiting. For, just as there is usually an engagement period between the proposal and the wedding, a recuperation period between the surgery and the recovery, months between planting the seeds and harvesting the crop, the disciples needed time before they began to go out to preach.

They needed time to let everything sink in and time to become more at home with each other now that Jesus had gone. Above all, they needed to accept that the decision about when to go out preaching the Good News wasn’t theirs to make but belonged the Holy Spirit. Their task was to wait for the Spirit to give the word and send them out.

As a Jesuit it helps me to remember that though Ignatius Loyola wanted his followers to be eager to do great things for God, he also wanted them to devote years to spiritual and intellectual formation and be guided by God’s Spirit, not just their own eagerness.

Certainly there may be occasions when there’s no time to lose. But it’s also true that often we have more time than we think and waiting time needn’t be wasted time.

  1. One Response to “Not So Fast”

  2. By Dave Richardson on May 20, 2015

    Thank you for this message! Like the disciples, we continue in our personal time of prayer – a daily discipline; to wait and seek His guidance. By trusting and obeying God fully – Jesus’ request to his disciples to wait for the oncoming Holy Spirit in this living example was paramount; God was preparing them as He is preparing us. Faithfully, as God always promises, through their trust, He delivered His plan to prosper them, give them a hope and a future through God’s Spirit. Their new Advocate gave them all of the necessary power required to fulfill God’s eagerness and mission for them/us. LORD, thank you for the precious time you have given to us and let us not lean on our own understanding and time but yours.

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