Day 13: Public and Private Praise & Prayer
Adapted from Luke 24.45-49 (from The Message). Dear Jesus, Help me to remember Your instructions from Luke’s Gospel: I want to remember that You told disciples before You went to the cross to wait for the Holy Spirit before they acted: “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”
We got some really good responses yesterday. Dori described the people wearing their faith on their sleeves so to speak. Pam talked about publishing a book on her journey. I am eager to buy it as soon as it is ready. If you have not read those responses—please do. Both of these women highlight the complexity of being a witness for Jesus in the world. Luke wants us to know we may need to wait “until we’re equipped with power from on high.”
As Dori described the women wearing Scriptures on their purses and shirts I thought of the pastor (true story) who was rushing to preach and cut off another driver only to find out that car was filled with people heading to church. In a time when logos and brand names are all over the place—Christian symbols are everywhere. The bigger question becomes, “Do the people displaying those symbols understand that people are watching closely to see how they act?” I could identify with Pam’s parents, also. My own mother functioned much the same way.
So the rub for us is knowing when to “go public” and when to work silently. I love how the Twelve Step program says: “Do something good to help someone else today, and do not let anyone else know. If someone finds out, it does not count.”
I think the process of Pam’s decision to write about caring for her husband is a good example of how the Holy Spirit works. Listen to her description:
“Now, having spent seven years as a caregiver to my husband as he was taken over by Alzheimer's, I have gained an openness about what I know to be true for myself. I still cannot quote much scripture, but I know God was with me during the trials we had, and I am not at all shy to speak of that now. I am even in the process of getting a book published that I wrote about our journey. In my writing and as I am talking to people about our experiences, I am quick to tell them that God provided many "people angels" along the way. I tell them I prayed daily for God to give me patience. I tell them how the holy spirit within me told me that my purpose was to make my husband's final days as pleasant as possible. I tell them that even in the throes of the illness my husband was able to tell me that I had "good friends and Jesus" to be happy about.”
Whether we work silently and patiently in the background, or feel called to display our faith more boldly, it might be wise to “wait “'until we’re equipped with power from on high.'” Does anyone have any ideas they want to share on how the Holy Spirit nudged them?
Recap prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to listen for the Holy Spirit’s nudging, to discern how we might act, and then to act appropriately on earth as in heaven. Amen.