DOUBT AND FAITH V

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” …While he was going, they were gazing up toward heaven…then… all of them were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women…” (Acts 1.9-11)

I love these lines from Steve Garnaas’ poem, Absence, http://unfoldinglight.net/,

Making spaces.

The Absent One goes unseen

 through your wastelands toward something else.

Grasses at your feet stir, silent in the spring wind.

Our readings today put us in that space with the Apostles and the women, with Mary and others of Jesus’ earthly family, staring up at the sky, praying, waiting. What happens next? Where are we going to go? What are we going to do now then? What will become of us? What exactly are we waiting for? Is he really coming back? When? How? …What…?

So begins the church. Three groups together, in the space of uncertainty and expectation, praying constantly. The Apostles, the ones who have walked with the Lord, watched him heal and teach, eaten with him, prayed with him, slept rough with him, been tried and tested by him, challenged and trained by him, together with the women who have witnessed and given witness to the resurrection, together with his mother and his brothers, who had shared his growing and his learning, even gone looking for him when they were afraid he’d gone mad.

The earliest church has no plans drawn up. There is no credo nor articles of faith, no structure, no network. Just a few Galileans, gawping up at the sky after the Absent One, and now huddled in their upper-room hideout, somewhere in the still for them lethally dangerous Holy City. It is obvious from their questions just before the Ascension that, even after having minds opened to and by the Resurrected One, these people still do not understand what on earth or in heaven is going on. But they have been told to wait for some kind of power to come. And they trust in the One who has told them to do it. This is sufficient. This, after all they have been through, is all that is necessary.So they wait. And they pray.

There are times in our lives when the action is intense. We seem to know what needs to be done and we just do it. Events pile on top of each other and we respond and drive on to the next. Other times, we are caught in space, uncertain, vulnerable, perhaps confused or daunted about what may lie ahead. What are we to do? The answer is clear, whatever the current state we find ourselves in. Come to the Lord in prayer. Be constantly devoted to prayer and God will pour out his Spirit on us and through us. It is not in the scheming of our minds that the church moves, but in the free flow of the Spirit wind.  The open door to Action is simply prayer.

 

Grasses at your feet stir…

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on June 1, 2014.

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