SUNDAY AFTER ASCENSION
Liturgically speaking we are hanging between the Ascension and Pentecost. Like the disciples, we know lots about Jesus. We may know Him intimately, even though we have never physically seen Him. We try to live lives that give glory to God, But…
Have we waited on God? Have we waited with anticipation for the working of the Holy Ghost? Or do we shy away from the power of the Spirit of God?
St Peter, in his Epistle this morning tells us that the end is at hand. We are to be sober, to watch and pray, he says. These words were true for Jesus’ band of men then and they are very important to us this morning. They, because the Kingdom depends on it, they because their salvation is wrapped up in it. For the same two reasons, we are to watch and pray. Next Sunday we commemorate the descent of the Holy Ghost. We need to prepare for that coming too.
Look at the patterns!
In the Old Testament there are many examples of God’s giving to the Israelites all that they needed to be prepared for the coming of Christ. He carried the nation as a mother carries her kids, so that they can become adults.
In the New Testament, Christ has come. He then prepared the disciples for the coming of the Holy Ghost. He also proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, which is at the heart of the Good News. God’s reign, His love for us, which He exampled in Christ Jesus our Lord, is to be spread to all nations, peoples to the very ends of the earth.
At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Ghost descended as a dove. Christ’s willingness to follow the preparation that John preached for preparation of the coming of the Lord, leads to the visible gift of both the Father and the Holy Ghost. At our baptism, we received that same sweet Spirit. At our confirmation, we again received that Spirit in a new and special way. We were given gifts in both events, as were the disciples at Pentecost. They were given with something in mind. Notice in Peter this morning that he says “Every man” hath received the gift.
At the important points in His ministry, Christ watched and prayed.
How do we prepare… Watch and pray!
If you want to know the gift you were given….. Watch and pray!
If you want to prepare for the coming of the Holy Ghost…. Watch and pray!
If you want to see the Kingdom in its full glory….watch and pray!
If you want to be ready for Christ’s return and the end of our life on earth….Watch and pray.
Watch and pray! Watch like the apostles who were to spend an hour with Christ in the Garden. Waiting, watching we are to slow down. We are to be moved by God. We need to stop the human knee jerk responses to do, do, do. Don’t just do something, stand there!!!! God must be the impetus for our actions. Watching and praying lets us slow down so we can hear the still, small voice. Praying we align our hearts, minds and souls with God’s will. God is the Gifter. We should trust Him to know the whys and wherefore of the gift. There is a pattern to the gifts. He gives enough gifts to each church body to accomplish His will therein. He has given us what we need to spread the Gospel to Marin. He has given us enough to love one another as we do so. Watch and pray! Let Him lead in our life.
If we watch and pray, Charity will be increased. We will love those that God has placed before us, family, friends, neighbors and those who find their way to our door.
Peter talks more about this in this morning’s epistle. The Spirit of God will enlighten us as to our gifts. The Spirit of God will bring us to a fuller Charity. The Spirit of God will put good words in our hearts and on our lips. When we watch and pray we will be good stewards of the gifts that were entrusted to us.
Our job this week is to just watch and pray. There is comfort in the simplicity of this act of will. This is all the preparation we need for next week and beyond. And that gives glory to God!