Tag Archives: waiting

Saint Matthias

Psalm 15
Acts 1:15-26
Philipians 3:13-21
John 15:1, 6-16

A Reflection
I love this particular image of St. Matthias, because he has his hands extended with palms up and cupped, the posture of those willing to receive whatever God has for them – whether Bread of Life or dirty feet needing washed – in openness, humility, and expectancy (not to mention that it’s the posture we take when receiving Communion each week).  Truly (and literally), this is the picture of a saint.

The account of the choosing of Matthias is a moving one.  It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the way that Peter reads the Psalms in a way that most of us wouldn’t think of reading the Bible, and we may find ourselves wondering what it means that the Church “cast lots” to discern God’s will for its leadership.  Those details, however, while perhaps worth our time at some other time, should not distract us from what is at work here in the early (so early that we might even call it a pre-Church, because the Spirit had not yet been poured out) Church.

Let’s set the scene.  In the preceding verses, Jesus has just told his followers to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit and then ascended “out of their sight” into heaven.  Those dazed folks (the disciples, Mary, several women, Jesus’ “brothers”, and apparently several unnamed others, for a total of about 120) returned to Jerusalem together “devoting themselves to prayer” but surely wondering just who or what the Holy Spirit was and how soon Jesus would come back out of the clouds to set up his kingdom on earth.

Truly, if we know that Spirit means ‘Breath’ (and in Greek it does), this community is a newly born and helpless infant, and it’s not clear yet if it will survive, let alone thrive.  The time between the Ascension and Pentecost (and in the church calendar, all the time is happening all the time, including Ascension and Pentecost this day in Epiphany) is the time waiting for a newborn to draw its own first breaths of outside air, and those brief moments seem to be taking weeks.  When we are remembering Matthias, that is what we are remembering.

Here, God, by leading the selection of Matthias by the believers, restores the believers’ hope that God is with them, has not and will not ever abandon them, and will fulfill Christ’s every promise to them.  The choosing of Matthias is the infant Church’s whimper, the promise of God that the full-throated wail of Pentecost is soon to follow.  Thanks be to God!

Collect for the Day
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

-Rev. Nick Jordan

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Sunday, November 28

Week 1: Reflections on Waiting

The theme for the first week of Advent is waiting. The Old Testament foretold of the Messiah and his certain coming to usher in a new kingdom. The Jews were waiting for him. The New Testament foretells of Christ’s coming again of which we are to remain watchful and ready. We are waiting for him. The focus of this week is to acknowledge the reality that part of being human is the experience of waiting. We are all waiting. We all want more. These are longings hard-wired into us by God to wait on him.
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Morning: Psalm 146, 147; Evening: Psalm 111, 112, 113
Isa. 1:1-9; 2 Pet. 3:1-10; Matt. 25:1-13

Have you ever experienced deep longing? The kind that makes you ache to the core of your being. A longing that drives you to your knees, sometimes leaving you prostrate on the floor. A longing so specific you could draw its picture. A longing so deep that it consumes your thoughts, your conversations, and even your dreams.

Eighteen years ago, I did! It seemed that my longing for a child consumed every area of life! Because Mark and I had wanted to adopt transracially for many years, I very specifically longed for my arms, for my heart, to be filled with a Hispanic daughter. A little girl with “café con leche” skin and big brown eyes just like her Daddy. And, oh by the way, it would be wonderful if that longing were fulfilled soon, before I turned 30! Since my birthday was only six months away, and we had not even heard of a birth mother by Advent 1992, much less met someone who wanted us to be the parents to her child, it seemed like an impossibility. I could not have known that God had created, and was molding and shaping our daughter in her birth mother’s womb at that very moment. I could not have dared to imagine that she would be born a month after Christmas!

This Advent, as I recently sat praying for my beautiful brown-eyed, almost 18-year-old Mexican daughter, Julia-Scott, it occurred to me that I was very much like the Israelites two thousand years ago. Surely, they had a longing for the prophesied, promised Messiah. Surely, they had specific ideas concerning who they expected Him to be. Surely, they had a short time frame in mind; after all, they had already waited so long. Like me, they could not have known that God had created, and was molding and shaping Jesus in Mary’s womb at that very moment. They could not have dreamed that their long-awaited Messiah would be born in a stable to a virgin, with only the angels to herald His birth!

Longing. This Advent season, do I ache for Jesus? Is it a longing that drives me to my knees? Is it specific and consuming? Am I waiting for Him with expectation and anticipation? “Come, Thou long expected Jesus!”

Come, Thou long expected Jesus; Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation; Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation; Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver; Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever; Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit; Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit; Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

-by Charles Wesley

-Robin Dawson

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