It’s a funny time of the year in the church calendar. Last Thursday we remembered Ascension Day when the risen Lord Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father. Next Sunday we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But what do we call the time in between Ascension Day and Pentecost? Even the church calendar seems unsure. Was last Sunday the 7th Sunday of Easter or the Sunday after Ascension Day? Either is acceptable, it seems.
And imagine what it must have been like for the first disciples. Jesus had led them up a high mountain (probably the Mount of Olives) and given them this command: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt 28:19-20). But what was His next command? I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49).
Nobody likes waiting, especially when you can see the task to be done. A few months ago I booked a balloon flight to celebrate a significant birthday in the family. It was originally booked at the beginning of March, but it has so far been postponed twice. Hopefully it will take place towards the end of May when the conditions are right. But in the meantime it has been so frustrating waiting.
This reminds me that there are times when all we can do is wait on the Lord for Him to send His Holy Spirit. We may want to go out and share the good news, but we cannot do it in our strength. We have to watch and pray, until we see the wind of the Spirit blowing, and then we need to ready for take-off! As someone who likes to get things done, this is a hard lesson I have had to learn over the years.
But looking back I believe we will always see God’s timing to have been perfect. And living between Ascension Day and Pentecost can be a necessary discipline to make us realise just how dependent we are on the Holy Spirit if we are to fulfil Jesus’ great commission.