Reflections on the Readings for Sunday 5 June 2011
Acts 1:12-14; Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8, 13; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11a
In all of today’s readings I discern the theme of waiting and praying in in-between times. In the first reading, the disciples travel a sabbath day’s journey in order to wait for what will happen next. After the euphoria of the resurrection and the bittersweet leavetaking at the Mount of Olives, Jesus is no longer with them. He had told them to wait until they received power from on high, and that is now what they have to do. It is an in-between time, a period of inactivity in one sense, but in another it is an important time of preparation and a drawing of strength from God and from one another. It is a Sabbath time. And how do they fill that time? They meet together, and they pray.
In his own in-between time, facing his death and looking forward to his return to the Father, Jesus had also prayed in the presence of his disciples. He prayed that his path through suffering would lead to glory. He prayed for the little community that he had fashioned and who would have to continue their journey in the world after his own was successfully completed. His prayer reveals a deep sense of connection both with his Father and with his community of disciples.
The Christians to whom Peter wrote were also caught in an in-between time. They were looking forward to the time when Christ’s glory would be revealed for all to see, but for now they were suffering. They needed to find the courage to continue faithfully in the face of opposition. Peter addresses them as a community, reminding them that their strength comes from their connection with God and their hope in a brighter future.
Psalm 27 is a beautiful prayer to pray in in-between times. It is a psalm of confidence spoken in a time of fear and danger. By reminding ourselves of the goodness of the Lord in our lived experience, by spending time in prayer and contemplation of God’s beauty, by calling out to God for help in our crisis, we can find the courage to keep going and to look forward with hope. The final verse of the psalm is not included in the reading for today, but I would like to conclude by quoting it: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14).