The Reading: Acts 1:1-5
“… wait for the promise of the Father,” (v. 4) RSV
Much of life consists of waiting, but waiting does not mean futile inactivity nor should it involve frustration. Waiting is an opportunity to prepare.
The disciples had to wait ten days after the ascension of Jesus before the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost. They did not know how long the waiting period was going to be. Jesus had simply told them “not to depart fromJerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father,” (v.4).
How did they use their time? Remember, this was an extended period away from their homes in the north of the country. It says that they remained in the house where they had been staying (St Mark’s mother’s house), and they met in its Upper Room. And there they “devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). They did not idle their time away playing cards or scrabble. They did not go shopping or chat casually.
The ‘in-between’ time is vital if the ‘coming-time’ is going to arrive. The greatest wait we have is for the return of our Lord at the end of time. We are told to “hasten” (2 Peter 3:12) its arrival. Yes, the future seems to be dependent on how we use the waiting time.
The disciples prayed, and there is no better occupation for us, especially if our church is going through a dry or difficult time, or if our own life appears to be stuck. A period of unemployment is a particular challenge, but it does give time to pray and read the Bible.
The Church generally in the western world is in decline and is in need of some Pentecostal fire. Let us unite in devoted prayer; it may well hasten the solution.
Grant me, O Lord, patience when I have to wait. May I use the time profitably, especially in prayer. Amen.
1 Who were in the Upper Room?
2 What else did they do while waiting?