I think it is fair to say that nobody has the potential to wind us up quite like family can. Whether that is parents, siblings or children when we live together, we all learn just how to press each others buttons to get maximum effect. There are certain things that my family do that are always guaranteed to get me riled up.
Firstly, we have the teenaged, monosyllabic, shrugging grunt when something is unknown. Something that I am absolutely sure I did when I was that age but we will leave that there. The other is on the car journey and being asked those 5 words, 5 little words that are asked over and over without thought and can destroy any enjoyment that a car journey (remember them?) can have.
ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?
Sometimes it gets asked through eagerness or boredom and in extreme cases can be asked before you have even left the street. And of course it all depends on that word “nearly”. If my family are heading back to Scotland and I get to within an hour of our destination then Yes, we are nearly there. But if we are going to the supermarket (not something that we have done as a family since the lockdown) we would only nearly be there in the last few hundred yards. It is all relative.
Nobody likes to wait, waiting in line at the checkouts of the supermarket is nobody’s idea of fun. Waiting for an important letter to arrive, for exam results, for someone to get out of the shower are all things that few of us actually enjoy. But there are times in our lives that the only thing that we can do is to wait. Waiting is an inevitable part of life, and that was never truer than now.
Take just now for instance. With us all still in the grip of lockdown, a lockdown that looks as though could be with us for a while and will then be slow in its easing we are facing the dawning of a new reality. And as we start to see what that reality will be, we are forced to wait, to wait and see what emerges. This won’t be rushed, this can’t be rushed, we have no choice but to just wait… to watch and to wait.
There is a wonderful passage from psalm 130.
My soul is waiting for the LORD.
I count on his word
My soul is longing for the LORD
More than the watchman for the daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
And Israel on the LORD (Psalm 130:5-7)
People have been watching and waiting for as long as there have been people.
In the Acts of the Apostles reading that we have just heard there are 3 distinct groups of people waiting, You have the remaining Apostles, you have the women from Galilee and you have Mary, with the brothers of Jesus. It tells us of people coming together, coming from different lives, all connected to Christ in different ways, with different histories but those three groups come together to become one community, this will become the church.It is only when they come together that the picture of Jesus becomes more complete. It is only when they are together that there are witnesses to the whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
The Apostles who were there from the time of Jesus' baptism until his crucifixion. You have the women of Galilee who were the first to learn of His resurrection in the empty tomb – something that was not witnessed by the Apostles and then you have Mary, Mary who was there from the beginning and at the end. They come together in prayer as they wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Just as we come together in prayer to bear witness and take part in the works of the Holy Spirit, just because we are in lockdown does not mean that the Holy Spirit is in lockdown, He is working harder than ever!
God came to them then and He comes to us now. The exact word used in the passage is the word “dynamis” from which we get the word Dynamite or dynamic, that in itself tells us something of the nature of God. It bursts forth from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times.
Jesus had a clear roadmap that He gave His disciples, first Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria (a neighbouring country that was not well liked at all) then the rest of the world.
Just like for those original disciples, the world has now changed for us. We find ourselves in a new reality but we are called to make sure that as we emerge from this lockdown, God’s voice is heard, His Kingdom proclaimed.
The adventure of the Holy Spirit has come before and it comes now. We are nearly there, let us keep going!