Henri Nouwen: Waiting

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On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

“Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for His coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God’s footsteps. Waiting for God is an active, alert—yes, joyful—waiting. As we wait we remember Him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember Him we create a community ready to welcome Him when He comes.”

Henri Nouwen in Bread for the Journey (New York: HarperCollins, 2009) reading for 19 November.

Did you know that there was 50 days between the resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit? It is a season of waiting. But we have a purpose in the waiting time.

As we return to the word for the year, remember, we are reminded of our purpose in life after Easter. We are here to wait actively for our Lord while trusting in His promises to sustain us.

This is not a passive waiting. We wait actively by building a community eager to welcome Him. In a world filled with doubt, this is our generous contribution: we bring joy and we build community.

Over the next four Mondays I am excited to build such a community in Malaysia. With Kuya Anjji Gabriel, my friend and brother in the Philippines, I will facilitate an online Journey of Empowerment group.

This is community building. We are building a community of stewards who are accountants, attorneys, pastors, and other professionals who are eager to help ministries follow standards. Why?

This positions ministries for flourishing and sustainability while we wait for our Lord. In a world filled with crisis, we need more communities of people who remember and rely on the promises of our Lord.