The church’s first task was to wait. Before ascending to His Father, this is Jesus’ final command to the church – wait. The disciples are supposed to wait for something. And so the question is – what? What were they waiting for?
First, the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus tells his disciples that in only a few days the Spirit will descend on them. And so between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost, the disciples did nothing but wait. After all, their vocation was to be God’s people – to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). We don’t turn the world upside down (and thus right side up) on our own power. We wait for God’s Spirit to do it through us.
Second, the disciples waited for Jesus “to restore the Kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). This is another way of saying that they waited for God to rule this earth. As present-day disciples, we also wait for this glorious Day. That’s why we pray – “thy Kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” We wait for the Kingdom to come. In the midst of war, famine, tsunamis, murder, greed, poverty, death, and all that will be abolished when heaven invades earth, we wait for the Kingdom.
The church began in waiting. Christ’s bride only waited a few days for the promise of the Spirit. And yet, it’s been nearly 2,000 years and we still wait for the Kingdom of God to appear in its fullness. We are a “waiting” church. Waiting is central to our vocation as the “called out” people of God. And so something for us to consider – what does it mean for us to wait?
My hope is that our journey through the Acts of the Apostles will help us answer this question.