Ascension ikon

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

{Jesus} told them not to leave Jerusalem” Acts 1: 4

Waiting is never easy! I find waiting the hardest thing in the world to do. Yet, this is what Jesus asked of the disciples. They were to wait for the promise of the Father, as we read in Acts – but what would that mean? At the moment when Salvation has been won for us, and Christ ascends to the Father in heaven, the disciples are told to WAIT! We know what happened next. What were their thoughts and expectations? One would have suspected they were still coming to terms with the resurrection appearances (Perhaps you are?) Sometimes, I wonder if Church is too good at waiting, and it believes it has to do nothing but wait and sit back.

Not knowing and understanding can be the hardest thing in the world. You could be waiting for an important medical diagnosis. Someone to say they loved you: whom you had recognised you couldn’t live without. Could this be how the disciples felt? Life is often a dark journey, but maybe we bring the darkness upon ourselves with a grudging spirit? St. Ephrem says:

A person who seeks after truth with a grudging spirit
cannot gain knowledge even if he actually encounters it,
for envy has clouded his mind
and he does not get any wiser, even if he grabs at that knowledge.
(Faith 17:1)

The correct approach to God is to recognise the fact that God has reached down to us. He has opened Himself to us and we must do the same with a sense of wonder. That is surely what true worship is about. In the Old Testament, Balaam failed to wonder when his donkey spoke. How often have you failed to wonder at a miraculous event in your life? A sense of wonder gives rise to Faith, and Faith is necessary if any knowledge of God is to be gained. Knowledge of the Divine is gained by waiting patiently. Being open to the Spirit. Seeing God in the unexpected. The Feast of the Ascension marks the beginning of the ‘waiting season’. Soon all will be revealed and given to us – but will you wait and pray patiently?

What will happen next…?

Wait and pray… then be prepared to ACT. The Spirit of God is coming to you!

The Medicine of Life flew down from on high
to reside in those worthy of it.
(Armenian Eucharistic Hymn)

May God truly bless you in the Spirit as we wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost.

Yours in Christ

Rector of Christ Church, Dalbeattie & St. Ninian’s, Castle DouglasTh