"On your mark." The runner checks the position of his feet on the starting blocks, and puts his hands against the starting line.
“Get set.” The runner rises from a squat to a crouch to provide the best leverage for a quick start.
“Wait!” What?! That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Next comes the bang, with every muscle pushing its hardest toward full speed.
I have to believe that’s what the disciples were poised to do on Jesus’ ascension day. During the forty days of his resurrection appearances he had in effect said, “On your mark, get set…”
They had seen Jesus – he was alive! And he had told them repeatedly about the race of proclamation he wanted them to run – “to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, making disciples of all nations, baptizing….” They were poised and ready on the blocks, eager for him to say “Go!”
But instead Jesus said, “Wait.” More specifically, he said, “Wait in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.” They had the zeal – “on your mark.” They had the mission – “get set.” But they were not ready to go until they had the power.
Such is our moment in ECO We’ve got zeal in spades, and we’re all about clarifying our run at the Great Commission for our 21st century context. We’re on the mark and set with repeated discussions about missional life and covenant connections. But it is for us as it was for the 120 – unless the Holy Spirit empowers us, we’ll run with neither power nor endurance.
So it’s well that ECO is lifting up Jesus’ surprising “Wait!” command. It’s Jesus’ word for every generation, and one particularly apt for us in our ECO starting blocks. Through this series of blogs on the Holy Spirit, and through various offerings about the Spirit at our gatherings to come, we are listening to his “Wait!” command, and posturing ourselves in readiness to be clothed with power from on high.
We can also share helpful resources. Some of the most helpful I’ve found for this “Wait” are from PRMI Check them out – solid, biblical, Reformed, and practical. And if you want one book to line out the basics of such waiting, I suggest the book by PRMI’s Director, Brad Long, Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Actually the “Wait!” and the “Go!” moments of our life with Jesus are not so much sequential as they are in tandem. We need both. He provides both. How good is that?!