Wait and See . . . A Deeper Story

I’m writing at A Deeper Story today, talking about waiting – and why it’s important. But also why it’s dang hard. You can start here and then click over to read the rest . . .
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The house is quiet tonight. And that feels right. I am tired and more than a little bit anxious, wondering if a long-planned vacation is going to happen. Inclement weather may well force cancellation of our flight and we truly need a break about now. A break in the weather, a break from the routines of surgical recovery, a break.

So, we wait. We wait for weather updates, we wait to hear from the airline, we wait to decide if we should re-schedule.*

We wait.

And as we wait, I’m reflecting on how much of life is spent doing exactly that — waiting.  Waiting for all kinds of things, from the trivial to the sublime. We wait in traffic, we wait for school to be out, we wait for the bread to rise, we wait for the doctor to call, we wait for a baby to be born or an elderly, ailing loved one to die. We live in the middle of all kinds of waiting — small kinds of waiting and terribly L O N G ones, too.

We wait.

And I guess we’re in pretty good company with all this waiting — at least, if we take our Holy Book (even a little bit) seriously. EVERYBODY waits in the pages of our book, some of them a dang long time, seems to me.

And so much of the time, that waiting is marked by hope. Perhaps God begins it all when he waits for Adam and Eve to show up for their usual evening stroll, patiently calling them to come out from hiding. I wonder, do you think God hopes? One of the things that I love about our creation story is this picture of God looking for his loved creatures. I know nothing about the workings of time and eternity, but it somehow makes me happy to think that God always hopes good things for us, that God imagines a different ending, one of reunion and reconnection.

Surely the characters whose lives mark the pages of Our Book are regularly on the look-out for a different ending. Noah waits for it to rain — and then for it to stop raining. Abraham waits for lots of things — a word from the One God, and for a final landing place, one marked with beauty and abundance. But most of all, Abraham and Sarah wait for an heir, an answer to a promise. They wait beyond hope, those two. . .

Just click on this line and you can finish this piece over at A Deeper Story. . .

 

On the Edge – A Deeper Story

 I’m writing for A Deeper Story today, talking about sharp edges. . .

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The sharp pieces are poking me rather a lot these days. I’m feeling my own edges in just about every way I can think of during this spring of 2014. It seems to be a season of pricking, marked by painful reminders of age and infirmity, all of it triggering deeply embedded insecurities and anxieties.

Can’t say I like it very much, this edginess. I’ve never been one to be on the cutting edge of anything, always a little bit behind the zeitgeist. And generally speaking, most of the time, I’m not an ‘edgy’ sorta character. Yeah, the sarcasm can flare on occasion. And the temper. But all in all, I try to let the more mellow parts of my personality rise to the top.

But right now? Not so much. I’m too quick to take offense, too unwilling to extend the benefit of the doubt in any direction, most especially toward myself. And I’m feeling weary, right down to my bones.

Do you know these deep feelings? Do you wind around these curves in the road, try to match your steps to this unwelcome rhythm of uncertainty and guess work, of fear and resistance?

I’m guessing that most of us find ourselves wandering down this spiky kind of path at some point. And if we live long enough, we’ll walk it several times, not one of them welcome.

Well, I have certainly lived long enough, so this unstable territory is depressingly familiar. I’ve waited for a loved one to die before, and hated it every time. I’ve had health issues at different points along the way, none of them enjoyable. And I’ve had my feelings hurt and walked through existential doubt and suffered broken appliances and lost keys and I know the truth of, “It never rains but it pours” and “Bad things come in threes,” and any other superstitious truism you care to mention. . . 

Please come on over to the Culture Channel at A Deeper Story today to read the rest of this post . . .

 

An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Ten

 

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I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,

“Those who have never been told about him will see,
and those who have never heard of him will understand.”

Romans 15:14-21 -NLT

“A special messenger to the Gentiles. . . ” It is the apostle Paul who picks up the thread woven into the fabric of the Incarnation by those wise men from the east, who came seeking a new king. I suppose this story is really more of an Epiphany tale than an Advent one, but here we are with this passage on the 10th day of our Advent journey.

Perhaps those who laid out this list of readings wanted to be sure this small, golden thread was right up front, where it would be noticed. Because, you see, we are the recipients of this particular gift of grace. We are the ones who walk in the shadow of those ancient seekers from the east; we are the ones who follow along with Paul as he rounds the Mediterranean Sea, leaving depositories of gospel grace everywhere he goes.

It’s a thread worth noting, an essential slice of the light we are seeking as we turn round one more bend in the road, journeying toward Christmas Day. We, too, are part of this story.

We, too, are marked by the Spirit as ones who are ‘full of goodness,’ simply because we know Jesus.

Humble Savior, will you help us to know you better as we travel this road? Shine your light on us, lead us into truth, help us to see your goodness shining out of our lives, even in the midst of the holiday crazy.

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Eight

 

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Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of theLord.
He will delight in obeying theLord.
He will not judge by appearance
    nor make a decision based on hearsay.
He will give justice to the poor
and make fair decisions for the exploited.
The earth will shake at the force of his word,
and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.
He will wear righteousness like a belt
    and truth like an undergarment.

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,
for as the waters fill the sea,
so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.

In that day the heir to David’s throne
will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.

Isaiah 11:1-10   -NLT

The Peaceable Kingdom, that’s what many call this passage from Isaiah 11. A picture of the future, where all of God’s creatures will live together harmoniously. Animals of every size and shape interacting peaceably with children; scorpions no longer lethal, cobras not to be feared.

And I love that imagery, too – although, to be honest — even though artists have rendered it repeatedly, I have a really hard time picturing all that wild animal/human conviviality. For me, it’s the picture in the first half of this passage that sings. That old Jesse stump, the tree from which David and then, Jesus, grew and flourished.

My spirit resonates with these lines, this picture of a righteous ruler, one who looks beneath the surface of things before pronouncing judgment. Righteousness and truth the garments nearest to his skin, closest to his person.

Yes! I love this picture. And in just the right light, I can see that this is a picture of Jesus. At least, this is one picture of Jesus. One that I like and look forward to, but one that is not yet fully realized. We still await the coming of this One, don’t we? A truly just ruler and judge, one who looks out for the needs of his people and will not abide cheating or oppressive behavior. 

Can I hear an amen?

Of course, I can. We all long for such leadership, if we’re honest with ourselves and with one another. And we’re all still waiting for him to show up, aren’t we? This is the deepest layer of Advent waiting, I think. We wait for the Just One to come and make things right; we wait for justice to reign; we wait.

Lord of Righteousness, will you help us to wait with hope? To know in the deepest parts of ourselves that you are always in the process of coming to us? Help us to see you in the small victories, the short, sweet moments, even in the little ones — those small human creatures that you give to all of us. And excuse my rudeness here, but could you somehow show us your undergarments – the ones that move right next to your heart, the ones that empower you to serve the least of these? Just a flash, that’s all we need. A reminder that you’re on the throne — and yet, you stand ever ready to help us little ones see and tell the truth. 

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

 

The Many Shades of Christmas – A Deeper Family

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Have you ever noticed how many of our favorite carols are written in a minor key? Think about it for a minute . . .

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

“In the Bleak Midwinter”

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”

“What Child Is This?”

“Greensleeves”

“I Wonder as I Wander”

“Carol of the Bells”

“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”

“Coventry Carol” (“Lullay, Thou Little Tiny Child”)

These are melodically darker-hued songs, offered in a season when we are encouraged on every side to be merry, dang it! And I am more grateful than I can say for the rich texture they bring to these days before Christmas.

Why?

Because there are many pieces of this story that can only be told in a minor key.

Sometimes I think we forget that Jesus came into a broken world, that there were no colored lights, and certainly no tinsel around that hayloft. Yes, yes — the gift of the incarnation is unspeakably good, that babe whose head was cradled by his open-hearted, willing young mother, that babe brought light and hope to us all.

But in and around the lowing of cattle, the bleating of lambs, the exhausted moans of a brand-new mom and the healthy lungs of a newborn — who can forget the cries of the mothers in Ramah, the rumbling threat of Herod, the hurried flight to Egypt, or the sorrowful truth about where that sweet baby hung his beautiful head at the end of his good, good life?

The reality of life on planet earth is that even good news, the best possible news, must be told in the midst of the bad; to get to the light, we have to walk through the dark. To truly live our story, we have to tell all the pieces of it.

So I think it’s important that the sounds of sadness, the echoes of loss, the edges of fear and uncertainty, are carefully and intentionally woven into our celebrations. All the voices in this Story, and in our own stories, cry out to be heard as we move toward the manger and the major key of Christmas Day.

I know that I have lived longer than most of you who are reading this piece. And over the course of this long life, I have experienced loss upon loss, asked question upon question, and listened for the answers in the midst of silence. If there is one thing I’ve learned, one truth that stands at the top of all the truths I know, it is this one: everyone carries a story of brokenness. Everyone.

Please join me over at A Deeper Family today to read more about singing in a minor key in this ‘hap-happiest season of all . . . “

An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Two

 

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If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
—let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
— Psalm 124, NRSV

We wait for the coming,
of the babe,
and of the Christ.
And every coming
is marked by this one thing,
this splendid, unique,
life-changing truth:
freedom.

“the snare is broken,
and we have escaped. . .”
This is the center,
the truth that holds
everything together.

The Lord is on our side.
Who could imagine?
On our side,
come what may,
even when what comes
brings heartache,
pain and fear.

And the truth is also this:
to know the unshackling,
to find the Presence,
there is only one way,

one road,
one thing required:

waiting.

It is in the waiting,
that we are changed,
we are saved,
we are made free.

Hallelujah.
Amen.

Teach us more about waiting, O Lord. We don’t like it, we resist and rebel, but oh! we must learn, we must. Thank you for forming us in this waiting time.

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day One

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There’s a day coming
when the mountain of God’s House
Will be The Mountain—
solid, towering over all mountains.
All nations will river toward it,
people from all over set out for it.
They’ll say, “Come,
let’s climb God’s Mountain,
go to the House of the God of Jacob.
He’ll show us the way he works
so we can live the way we’re made.”
Zion’s the source of the revelation.
God’s Message comes from Jerusalem.
He’ll settle things fairly between nations.
He’ll make things right between many peoples.
They’ll turn their swords into shovels,
their spears into hoes.
No more will nation fight nation;
they won’t play war anymore.
Come, family of Jacob,
let’s live in the light of God.

Isaiah 2:1-5, The Message

“All nations will river to it. . .”

Can you see it? All of humanity as a living river, ascending the Hill of the Lord to celebrate the Day of the Lord, that day when peace will reign and we will enjoy the richest of mountaintop experiences. If I close my eyes and imagine, I can make it out.

But when I return to my everyday normal, that human river seems further and further away. It feels as though we are always waiting as we live this life. From the mundane to the magnificent – we wait. . . for the dough to rise, for the sun to come out, for the sadness to lift, the questions to be answered, the sky to be rent. Because the truth of it is this: in all our waitings, we want to see Jesus.

Advent marks it out for us, this waiting. It’s a season of expectation, of longing, sometimes, of desperation. The longest night of the year happens during these weeks, ever-increasing hours of darkness punctuate the rhythm of Advent time. As we wait for Jesus to come, I find myself looking for the light, longing for it from the deep places inside my spirit. I wonder if you do, too?

If so, I invite you to ‘live in the light of God’ this Advent, to faithfully look for that light each day — right in the middle of all the hubbub, all the expectations, all the craziness. There will be some days when we’ll have to search hard to see it, but here’s the truth, here’s what I know: the light is always shining. Always. To see it requires attention and intention, a willingness to look with new eyes, and a promise to listen to the heartbeat of your life with hope and expectation. Will you come with me?

God of the Mountaintop and God of our hearts, help us to see the light of your love, even in the midst of shopping, cooking, traveling and w a i t i n g for you to come. Help us to discover you in a new way, an Advent way, as we mark off these days. Amen.

* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

31 Days of Giving Permission to . . . REMEMBER

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Sometimes, it’s good to remember where we’ve been and to look for the connections
between there and here. I was searching for a completely different document on my hard drive (one that I did not find, unfortunately) and came across a sermon that I had written six years ago, a sermon that for some reason did not get filed in the folder marked ‘sermons.’ (Don’t ask about my document filing system. It’s a mess and I don’t really know how to fix it.)
I actually enjoyed reading it, something that doesn’t always happen.
And I remembered where I was back then — in the middle of a family tragedy, in the middle of a massive re-model, in the middle of my husband’s retirement planning.
It was good to see that some things have changed significantly.
It was a little hard to see that some things (mostly inside me!)
haven’t changed quite enough.

Do you have ways to look back on your life and reflect on where you were and where you are? Scripture admonishes us to remember. Over and over again, we’re encouraged to remember the good and build on it, and to remember the not-so-good and release it. Sometimes in the busyness of our over-full lives,
we don’t give ourselves permission to stop long enough
to be reflective about our own journey.
Maybe something in this sermon will help you to do that.

“Gone?”
Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:1-11
Preached as part of the “God’s Big Story” series
Montecito Covenant Church
April 29, 2007
By Diana R.G. Trautwein

It’s been quite a week for me. How about you? Three long car trips — miscellaneous family woes, including some really scary and sad health issues for people I dearly love; the constant noise, dust and confusion of the re-model from planet weird, which goes on and on and on . . . making me more than a little bit crazy and cranky; navigating some tricky interpersonal waterways in my work week – not always terribly successfully; meetings up the wazoo; trying to listen attentively as my husband thinks out loud about some of the complications and decisions associated with his retirement in five weeks.

And then there was this sermon to think about — on the Ascension, of all things. Not something I think about a whole lot, to tell you the truth. Oh, I occasionally refer to it when we recite the creed together: “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . Who ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead . . . “ But it’s not a topic I tend to think about a whole lot.

Doesn’t seem to impact my life much — not like the crucifixion or the resurrection or even the story of Jesus’ birth or the various details of his ministry Nope. Don’t think about the ascension too much. So, adding into an already heavy-duty week the thinking and study required to piece together 20 intelligible minutes on that very subject seemed a daunting and even frustrating task.

But here’s what I want you to hear from me today, before you hear anything else – maybe even if you don’t hear anything else, please hear this: After a week like the one I’ve had – and maybe after a week like the one you’ve had – the ascension is EXACTLY what I needed to ponder, EXACTLY what I needed to wrestle with a little, EXACTLY what I needed to hear from God about.

And, as always, that came as a big surprise to me. Because it never ceases to amaze me that the sermons I preach are always, and I do mean ALWAYS, preached to me first, preached to me and in me – right smack dab in the middle of this messy, ordinary, sometimes glorious, sometimes trouble-filled life I lead. Whatever the topic of the week may be – whether I’ve chosen the text or it’s been given to me – it seems as though the first work of the Spirit needs doing in me before I can even begin to contemplate unpacking the word for others.

And this week, despite my fears and rather listless energy for the topic at the beginning of the week, the same thing happened again. I was reminded one more time, of who I am and who I am not, of who we together are, and who we are not, and, most importantly, of who God is and how Jesus continues his salvation work in me, and in us, minute by minute, day by day, week by week.

Because there are just some weeks when I need a whole lot of saving, a whole lot of shaping and forming and learning and stretching. I need a whole lot of hearing and reading and reflecting and reveling in the story of God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s power. And this week’s scripture just knocked me upside the head and made me say, “Thank you, Jesus!”  and “Help me, Jesus!” and “Lord, have mercy.”  And “Amen!  Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Will you hear the word of the Lord as it is recorded for us by the person we know as Luke – the author of the gospel that bears his name and the author of the book that immediately follow the 4 gospel accounts, the Acts of the Apostles.

Reading first from Luke 24 and then from Acts 1:

Luke 24:50-53:

   When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Acts 1:1-11

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

    So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

    He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

    They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

This is indeed God’s word for us today.

We have been looking this whole year at the story of Jesus, beginning last fall with the birth narratives and moving through his teaching, healing, disciple-making ministry, his trial and crucifixion, his death and resurrection. Today we arrive at an important point of transition in our 3-year preaching series which Don has entitled, “God’s Big Story.”

Book one of Luke – the gospel, the good news, the snapshot story of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ in 1st century Palestine – book one is finished. And book two of Luke – the Acts of the Apostles – is beginning. And this strange little story that reads like watching Jesus sort of floating off into the ether is the monumentally important turning-point – transition point – transformation point –  between the two.

In the opening words of Acts, Luke writes to his friend Theophilus that his first volume, his gospel record, was, “about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven . . . “ certainly implying that book two is about what Jesus continues to do and to teach as the story of Jesus, of salvation, of revolution is carried to Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

So, to summarize in a pithy way, the story of the ascension tells us these important things as we transition from one phase of God’s salvation story to another:

Jesus is moving on,

the church is being born,

the Spirit is soon to come.

And it’s all right here, in these words we’ve just heard.

First, Jesus is moving on:

“It is finished,” not “I am finished.” 40 days of ‘convincing proofs’ of his resurrection, 40 days of reminding them there was work ahead of them, important, life-changing, world-changing work for them to do. And how is that going to happen? Well, according to Acts 1, it will happen in two important ways: first by waiting, and then by witnessing.

And that order is so important – for those 11 gape-mouthed disciples on the hill near Bethany, and for all of us gape-mouthed disciples on this hill near Westmont. The first thing we must do – and the last thing we usually choose to do or even think to do – is to . . .

WAIT

Don’t go anywhere. Don’t do anything Just WAIT.

For what? For the gift, that’s what. Hmmm…pretty broad category there. Pretty general statement. So Jesus gets a little more specific. Wait for . . . The gift my father promised, the gift you’ve heard me talk about, the baptism I told you was coming. And don’t wait for it all by your lonesome, each of you in your own closet. No, wait for it together.

Now, in a couple of weeks, we’ll look more intensely at the particular form of the gift that Jesus promises here in chapter one of Acts.  At that time, we will remember and celebrate Pentecost – that wonderful, awesome, strange and even scary visitation of the Holy Spirit on the early church.  That promised baptism that would bring power and the skills and gifts that would make witnesses of all those gathered in the upper room.

But, the witnessing will come later, it is the waiting that begins now.

And while we wait, even as they waited those centuries ago, we need to remind ourselves and one another of what we know, of what the ascension so magnificently reminds us : that God is God, that God is on the throne, that Jesus is now there with him, still wearing our flesh, and that Jesus continues his work of kingdom-building by praying for us, by whispering into the Father’s ears on our behalf, and by releasing, again and again, the great, unfathomable gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes in power and in love to fill the church and to continue the work of the kingdom of God through the church.

For the church, despite its flaws and foibles, despite its foolishness and feebleness, despite the pettiness and the entitlement and the one-upsmanship that can so often rear its misshapen little head in even the most mature of Christian fellowships – the church is God’s chosen vehicle, the church is Christ’s body in the world, the church is the recipient of God’s Spirit of grace and of power and the church is where the kingdom is caught in glimpses while we’re still on this side of heaven.

And there are three important things that the church is given to do, all of them either explicit or implicit in Jesus words to his disciples as he ascended to the Father:

We are to wait,
We are to worship,
And we are to witness.

The waiting is clear in our Acts passage for the morning, but you’ll notice from the lighthearted sense of Luke’s closing words in the gospel reading today that the most natural response to the ascension of Jesus is the worship of Jesus – Luke 24:52 tells us that after Jesus was taken up into heaven, the disciples who watched him go, “worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Probably the earliest recording of a distinctively Christian worship experience. And it happened while they were waiting, while they were waiting together.

Wait, worship, witness. All of those ‘w’s’ are important – they each continue to play important parts in the kingdom work that the Spirit of Jesus is doing today, in and through and sometimes, in spite of the church. They need to be remembered, and they need to be practiced, and they need to be kept in sequence.

Because here’s the heart of it all, the thing that we so often lose sight of, that we so easily stop tracking with, that we too often fail to remember, or that we simply choose to ignore – here it is, are you ready for it?

It’s not up to us.

Did you hear me?

It’s not up to us.

Do you see that crown back there? There’s only one crown on that table, and there’s only one person who wears that crown, and it sure as shootin’ ain’t me. And it ain’t any of you lot either.

Jesus Christ is now ascended. Jesus Christ is now exalted. Jesus Christ, still robed in our flesh, is now with the Father,

Ruling in majesty,
Working in mystery,
Loving in perpetuity,
Praying in sincerity.
For us. For you and for me and for this world.

That’s what the ascension is about.

That’s why I can come to the end of a rotten week and say,
“Thank you, Jesus,” and
“Help me, Jesus,” and
“Lord, have mercy,” and
“Amen. Yes! Yes! Yes!”

So…as we come to the close of our time together this morning, I am going to ask you to take just a couple of minutes to WAIT, to wait together on the Lord. And then we’re going to worship with the singing of the last hymn. And then we can leave this place better prepared for all the messy, ordinary, sometimes glorious, sometimes trouble-filled life that we each are called to live. And we can witness to the mysterious, and revolutionary presence  of the kingdom of God, right here, in the midst of it all.

Will you wait on the Lord?

 

 

 

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