The book of Acts begins where Luke leaves off. Acts is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke. Luke tells the story of Jesus, his birth, details of his life, teachings, healing, death and resurrection, the post resurrection sightings all the things that happened after the resurrection. The disciples were waiting in Jerusalem, but they did not know what for. Jesus appears and tells them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. Then he says, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
The hardest thing to do sometimes is to wait. The hardest thing for the church to do is to wait. The early followers did not know what was in store for them. They had not been in this place before. It was new. They were writing history. They were going to be the first church, and they were instructed to wait for something they did not understand, but at the same time I’m sure they had some excitement about what all this may mean as well as fear of the unknown.
They were told to wait, and in that waiting you can be sure there was questioning.
I know many of you want to get back to work, back to school, back to the routines on the outside that have been missing from your lives for a while now. We’ve got cabin favor. We are tired of sheltering in place, but we are waiting for direction from the Holy Spirit. And how will that direction come at this time? The clergy of our diocese meet with Bishop Susan every Thursday online.
We listen to the latest news from other Bishops, what our Governor is saying, what other thoughts our colleagues have. We weigh in. We are waiting for the Mantle of God to speak to us.
How does that happen? It can happen through the direction of our Bishop. It can happen through different ways. But, we will know when and how to walk, to walk with plans and preparations for a gradual moving back into the normalcy of church that we know and miss. And, how do we do this safely.
How do we sing safely? How do we do Holy Eucharist safely?
How do we pass the peace? How do we do Sunday School? How do we take offerings? What do we do with our masks, and do we have masks for people to have as they enter the church doors? What about gloves? What about coffee hour? And when start having services in our sanctuaries, will we continue with services online?
These are important questions. We don’t know what the future holds , but we have an idea, and we have been forced into this new way of thinking, a new way of doing church and being church. It’s all knew and changing, creative and entrepreneurial. It’s exciting, but we want to be empowered with the Holy Spirit. We are instructed by the Apostle Paul that if we are filled with the Spirit, then we should walk in step with the Spirit. Not too slow and not too fast, but just in time and in rhythm.
We are asking Lord, is this the time when we can move forward? And will Jesus reply, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in El Cajon, in San Diego County and to the ends of the earth. “When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight”.