Last week I began a series of reflections on the ongoing mission of our Lord. The reflections are drawn from an address I heard from the Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba at the NALC Convocation last August. He talked about “The Footprints of the Holy Spirit”, and he shared ten such footprints as found in the opening chapters of the Book of Acts.
The first footprint we identified last week is the promise of the Lord Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to accompany believers as they give witness to the Gospel. It is important that we repeatedly speak this promise to each other, thereby reminding ourselves that we are not sent into the mission field alone!
The second footprint has to do with the Holy Spirit coming to those who wait upon the Lord. Jesus instructed his first disciples to “wait for the promise of the Father”. The disciples were not to leave Jerusalem until the sending and imparting of the Holy Spirit. Soon enough they would be told to leave Jerusalem, and to be his witnesses to the end of the earth (vs. 8). But they are not to go forth until they are equipped and accompanied by the Holy Spirit.
In this instance there is a literal waiting, ten days, from the time of Jesus’ Ascension until the Jewish Festival of Pentecost. It was at this Festival that the promise came to fruition and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples in a rather dramatic way. You can read about it in Acts 2:1-13.
Significantly, it important to know what the disciples were doing as they were waiting in Jerusalem. As we learn in 1:14 they were with one accord devoting themselves to prayer. From this we understand that prayer is the way we wait upon the Lord! When we rush into things without prayer, we fail to wait upon the Lord. Instead, we attempt to make a go of it in our own wisdom and strength. Little wonder we don’t get far!
Since You Asked…
Are announcements necessary? And should they be included as a part of the liturgy?
Not all announcements are necessary! Nor should they be allowed to disrupt the rhythmic flow of the service. It is likewise important that announcements be kept to a minimum. But certain announcements are important. Information that will enhance participation in the worship, information pertaining to further Christian service, and information for regarding further opportunities for spiritual edification are such announcements of importance, and they are worthwhile to promote publicly to the assembly. We have chosen the beginning of the worship service as the most helpful and least disruptive placement for announcements.