Hurry Up and Wait! – Reflection for 28 May 2017
It is tempting to hurry through the ten days of the liturgical calendar between the Ascension and Pentecost. Sometimes I find myself so familiar with the story that is easy to ignore the dull parts and just skip to the parts I like. I can plan my liturgical life moving from feast to feast – Easter, Pentecost, Trinity, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and then back to Easter. It is easy to be about doing. The hard part is taking time to wait. These ten days are about waiting.
As the disciples stand with Jesus on that hill outside of Jerusalem, the ask, “Is now the time?” Jesus responds that only the Father knows the time and that they should go back to Jerusalem and wait. That’s it, just wait. We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story that the wait was ten days. For the disciples, it must have been agonizingly difficult to wait without knowing the end.
I don’t particularly like to wait. I suppose I come by it honestly. My grandfather’s favorite restaurant was the Catfish King in Lufkin because they “have the food hot and ready when you walk in and you don’t have to wait!” When I was in the clinic, I would stand over the machines in the lab trying to will them to produce results faster. Even with a countdown timer, the wait was infuriating to me. If I am truly honest about my prayer life, I admit that I am disappointed when God doesn’t fix things immediately. This time between Ascension and Pentecost is a time to practice prayerful waiting.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem and devoted themselves to prayer. Luke records that they were together and of one accord in their prayer. They waited and prayed together because there was nothing else they could do. There are times when the only thing we can do is to wait and pray together. I have a pastor friend who says, “The only effective response when someone asks, ‘Why, God?’ is a hug.”
May we not rush to Pentecost but rather savor this Ascensiontide as a time to practice waiting and praying together.