The Church Year continues, and as the "alleluias" of Eastertide fade away, believers realize that as Christ has ascended into heaven, we are now in that "in-between" time or what is often stated in literature: "Meanwhile . . ." We are waiting . . . for what? The Scripture is very plain: we are looking for that day when the Lord Jesus returns. It was the promise given to the disciples as they gazed up into heaven on that day when Christ was taken up to the throne of the Heavenly Father where he presently resides, when he is serving us all as he makes intercession for us. Yet what are we to do in the "meanwhile?"
Again, the apostles' teachings remind us that first we are to "occupy" this world that Jesus came to save. Occupy? Yes, literally to fill the earth with our presence and make it known that we are God's people in this place. It is a time when we are to actively be making it known that Jesus may be physically absent, but his Spirit dwells within all his followers, that they are reminders to the world that God in Chirst is present, is still active in human experience, and has not forgotten his promise to be with us always until he returns. Second, we are to pray for his return. The apostles counseled the! early Christians to pray that the Lord would return and take this world away from the Evil One, to actively plan for Christ's return by the way they ordered their daily lives and by their attitudes of living as if Christ were coming to dinner that very day. This kind of thinking is what the Apostle John talks about in his first epistle when he says that this active "waiting" changes attitudes, keeps us close to the Lord, and fills our time with positive actions and attitudes.
These days between our Lord's ascension and his return are not times when we physically and spiritually twiddle our thumbs. It is a time when our Savior has given us the gift of days to mature in our faith, to learn what it really means to trust in his plan for us and for this world he loves. It is a time that is graced with the presence of the Holy Spirit in order to give us the energy to meet the challenges of human living in a world that largely ignores God's presence and whose goals are certainly not God's goals. Yet we often go through our days with a routine that seems to say that we believe Christ will return but " . . . what does it have to do with me?" Now is a time for learning that God's word never fails, that even if our Lord's return doesn't happen during our lifetimes, yet his will can and does prevail. God will indeed have the last word, and it will be a good one! Alleluia!
We remember his death;
We proclaim his resurrection;
We await his coming in glory!
“Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
In your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
For the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.”
-- Anselm of Canterbury, 11th Century