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Daily Encouragement - May 22

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

— Acts 1:1-5

I can still hear my mother’s voice saying to me, “patience is not your greatest virtue, Tom.” It was her way of reminding me of my tendency to rush forward, to move to the ending of things, before I allow things to just develop. When I start a long bike ride, I have this horrible tendency to rush to the end; to ride as fast as I can to make it to the end. The thing is, that’s fine for a sprint, not so good for a marathon. “wait there for the promise.” Really? Wait? Can’t we just get to it now?

This Sunday will mark 13 weeks since we last gathered for worship. That is a full one quarter of a year. Hard to call anything of that length rushing to the end, and maybe we should have been back at public worship a long time ago. I am no epidemiologist. I don’t understand this virus, and certainly don’t have all the answers. I know I want to get on with it all. I want to get back to Bible Studies, committee meetings, and staff functions. I want to get to the place where we can look back at this virus and say, “you remember when . . . “ I want to name the lessons we have learned and incorporate the new practices we develop. I want to be on the other side of this all, but that takes time.

Wait there for the promise, he said. Wait until the right time. Wait until power comes. Wait until the promise is fulfilled. Wait. I don’t like waiting. My sister shared with me a poem about this time of waiting, it comes from a Roman Catholic priest someplace in Illinois. I share it as a prayer for us even in this moment of waiting.


What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now, 

on trying to make the world

different than it is. 

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

Pastor Tom

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