Waiting on the Lord

Christians must not confuse busyness with faithfulness, NCD speaker says

August 22, 2011

A man at a lectern gives a passionate sermon using his hands.

The Rev. Amos Disasa, pastor at Downtown Church in Columbia, S.C., preached on the experience and power of waiting on Jesus. —Photo by Michael Whitman/Special to Presbyterian News Service

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.

Jesus is a terrible party planner, said the Rev. Amos Disasa at the closing worship of the National New Church Development Conference here Aug. 11.

His rising from the dead deserved a big party, but Jesus instead told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit, said Disasa, preaching on Luke 24: 36-49.

And although those instructions might sound boring, they were for good reason.

“This news was so dangerous to the status quo that it came with a warning label,” said Disasa, organizing pastor of Downtown Church, a new church development in Columbia, S.C.

Jesus, the enemy of the state, was dead one day and alive the next. The future of the world was just rewritten — and Jesus told his followers not to move.

“You are witnesses, but for now, don’t testify.”

If we were in the disciples’ place, would we be able to restrain ourselves from sharing the news of the resurrection through texts or on our Facebook pages? Could we withstand the urge to celebrate and party? Disasa asked.

Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit because if they didn’t , people might not believe them. And if they started a church without the power of the Holy Spirit, they might not notice that people outside the church weren’t listening.

But waiting is hard. And these days, it’s old-fashioned. Why should we wait to watch the evening news when we can read it online? Why wait until after a meeting to call a friend rather than texting during it?

“Maybe forcing us to wait is God’s really polite way of telling us we’re not ready yet,” Disasa said.

But waiting contradicts our fundamental urge to be busy. And church people are prone to confuse busyness with faithfulness. Maybe that’s what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) needs to do as well — wait instead of working frantically to fix itself.

“The tickets to this party are free,” Disasa said. “But they’re hard to get. You may have to wait.”

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