Continuing in Prayer with Joy, Understanding, and Promise (Mon. May 3)

Christ is Risen!

The word of the day is “continued.”  What next?  Generally, after a momentous occasion has happened, there is a letdown.  The participants realize that nothing can surpass what has already occurred.  We would expect that the followers of Jesus would have experienced this kind of  deflation.  In today’s reading of Acts 1:12-17 and 21-26), the writer of Acts reports that this did not happen.  Luke reports that the company of believers returned from Christ’s Ascension and continued to meet in the “upper room” (vs. 12-13).   He summarizes their attitude, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (NKJR vs.14).  And under the leadership of Peter, they arranged to fill the position that Judas Iscariot had left of one of the twelve disciples who had followed Jesus from the beginning.

Three Reasons for Continuing in Fervency

What was the reason for the sustained fervency of the company of believers?  We can suppose three major explanations. First, it must have been the continued radiance of Christ’s resurrection.  The believers had firsthand experience of the Lord’s glorious victory over death and corruption.  The Risen Christ had appeared to them to prove that His rising was no fantasy or wishful thinking.

Second, the believers now understood the meaning of all that they had witnessed as Jesus Himself had taught them.  (See yesterday’s post, “Joy No One Can Suppress.”) In the light of the crucifixion and resurrection the Old Testament that once was a book of Law became a book of promises. .

Third, they had another promise, the Lord’s own pledge of another supernatural blessing, the Promise of the [my] Father,” the “power from on high” (OSB Luke 24:39).  How could they doubt the Word of Christ who had fulfilled so many Old Testament prophecies?

This is an “Interim Moment”

Thus, this time was one of those “interim moments.”  It was a time filled with new possibilities, a time of hope, a time of preparation for the challenges to come.  Having experienced the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, they  were waiting expectantly for the next phase of their discipleship.  Then they would be “witnesses to the resurrection.”  Through them, the Gospel would be proclaimed to the end of the earth.  And they would make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).

But for now, they had the blessed time of waiting.  They had this period of “prayer and supplication” to prepare for the Almighty to act once again—this time through them.

For Reflection

For us, this is a time of waiting.  We look to the end of the current crisis and hope for the return of normalcy.  But we know that our social context will not be the same.  Therefore, this is a time for prayer, supplication, and reflection.  Like the gathering in the upper room, the radiance of the resurrection still shines brightly for us.  And having experienced the work of our salvation, we have a fresh understanding of its meaning.  Moreover, we have the promise of the Risen Christ, “ Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV Matthew 28:20).  So let us prepare for a future of new challenges and new possibilities to fulfill the will of God and to witness to the joy of the Resurrection of Christ.

About Fr. Basil

Now retired, the Very Rev. Archpriest Basil Ross Aden has served as a parish priest, parish pastor, diocesan mission director, writer, and college teacher of New Testament and Religious Studies. He has a Master of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Chicago and has published daily devotional and stewardship materials as well as a college textbook on Religious Studies. He also has published papers and/or lectured on the Orthodox perspective on Luther and the Reformation. religious freedom, current issues of religion and society, and St. John Chrysostom. He is married to Sandra and has two sons and three grandchildren. He is still active as a priest as well as a writer of articles and materials on Orthodoxy and topics of faith and life today.

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