40th Day of Easter: Praising

We have come to the end of the Easter season.  Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost.  Between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost the disciples pondered what the future would look like, they stayed together in community, they prayed, they chose Matthais to return their number to the familiar twelve that we associate with the apostles but they did one more thing.  Luke shares in Luke 24: 53, “And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.”  It is so easy in in-between times to give way to fear about the future but it seems that the followers clung to Jesus’ yet to be fulfilled promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

         In those uncertain times, what do you cling to?  What keeps you going?  Fear of the future drives some to immerse themselves in videos about happy endings, crimes solved, bad guys defeated.  Others hide in alcohol, drugs or sex. Busyness so that we live in exhaustion is common.  We have many ways that we can avoid the anxiety of waiting for yet unseen promises.  I’m sure the followers had no real idea what the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit meant.  We debate today if that means speaking in tongues or some other esthetic experience and search our lives looking for signs of which gift of the Spirit we have been blessed with.

         Waiting is hard. The followers waited in the Temple worshipping what they already knew and praising.  Praise focuses our attention from the anxiety and problem to the character of the God who will help us walk through the in-between times.  I suspect they might have focused on Isaiah 9:6,7,

“For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Choose one of the titles describing Jesus that brings you comfort during anxious times.  Counselor? God? Father? Prince of Peace?  Each is powerful and comforting.  Spend a few minutes focusing and praising God for these.  This God cares about you!  Thank you, Lord.

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