Theophilus, the first scroll I wrote concerned everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, 2 right up to the day when he was taken up into heaven. Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. 4 While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, “This is what you heard from me: 5 John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
My sunny beach vacation has been interrupted by a two day Nor’easter with driving rain and gale force winds that rattle the windows and shake the house. We feel marooned and wait indoors for sunnier skies. It makes me think about Jesus’ followers, hiding out in that room in Jerusalem, obeying Jesus’ command to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When it comes, that baptism of rushing Holy wind will fill them with holy power and burning fire that will empower them to preach the good news and enable them to continue to expand Jesus’ Kin(g)-dom work to the whole world.
But the disciples and Jesus’ followers are in that ‘in between time,’ the time after Jesus’ resurrection and before the ascension, before the coming of the Spirit. It’s a time of sporadic appearances and absences by Jesus, proving Christ has risen and is alive, beyond all their doubts. And while they experience their past sense of community over meals together, there’s a sense that something is going to happen, but not yet. Jesus takes this time to teach them about the kin(g)-dom, to prepare them for telling the good news. When Jesus ascends into heaven, Christ’s followers are left alone in that room in Jerusalem surrounded by enemies, praying and waiting.
As children of God we go through periods of our lives that feel like ‘in between times.’ We feel caught between the times we feel the presence of God in our lives, and other times when we feel alone and waiting. Like the disciples, I think these ‘in between times’ are times of teaching for us too, if we can sit in silence and wait for the Spirit to move us and fill us with fire. When we are baptized with water, we become one with Christ and enter into God’s family, the community of faith, and the Holy Spirit never leaves us. And while our baptism by water may feel like a one time event, our baptism by the Holy Spirit is our indwelling reality of who we are in Christ, we are living as the children of the Kin(g)-dom of God, disciples of Jesus Christ.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Are you currently feeling like you are “in between times” where you’re waiting for the Spirit to be rekindled anew in your life? The power and fire of the Holy Spirit is always at work within us, even if we don’t always feel it. As the pastor says at our baptism, “The Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit, you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ…who walks in the way that leads to life.” Today remember that your baptism by water and the Spirit equips you to be a disciple of Jesus. What will you do today to help build the Kin(g)-dom of God?
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit and set our hearts on fire to grow as disciples of Jesus, to tell the good news and do acts of mercy and justice to help build the Kin(g)-dom of God. Amen.