Thought for the Day by Alan Griggs from St Chad’s:
What do you know about Barnabas’s Aunty? Perhaps, not very much.
Her name was Mary, and she was the mother of John Mark, whom we come across several times later in the Acts of the Apostles. (He was also perhaps the young boy who ran away in the Garden of Gethsemene.).Mary lived in a large house in Jerusalem. Tradition has it that the Last Supper that Jesus celebrated with his disciples, took place in her house. She seems to have been quite an important person in the life of the early Christian Church. When Peter escaped from prison (Acts 12:12) he found all the others in Mary’s house., praying.
The 11 disciples had witnessed the disappearance of Jesus in a cloud. This was not a cloud like the ones we often see in the sky, but the cloud of God’s presence and glory that Peter, James and John had seen on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them. They did not know what to expect; when they returned to Jerusalem it was to Mary’s house they went. The other 10 were there together with Jesus’ Mother, his brothers and the women.
They had been told to wait, but what did they expect to happen? They had already come to the conclusion that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah. But would he be ushering in a new Kingdom to replace the hated Roman occupation? Or what kind of Kingdom would it be? They no doubt discussed these things together, with the disciples and Jesus’s Mother and brothers all sharing their different experiences. The two things they seem to have agreed were: stay together , seek fellowship and pray.
What did they pray for? Understanding? Guidance? Courage? Perhaps all of these. Perhaps some of the strange things Jesus has told them began to make more sense. Perhaps they studied the Scriptures. 4 of them, the fishermen, had probably not had much formal education; nor had many of the others. We know they went into the Temple but that was not to ask the Scribes for advice, but to proclaim what they knew of the Risen Jesus .
Our world at present is also one of waiting. Many thought that by this autumn, life would be back to normal. But we know it is going to go on longer than we thought. And we don’t know what the new world is going to be like. How are our lives going to change and be regulated in the weeks and months to come?
Perhaps the message for us is still: Stay together, seek fellowship and pray.
Staying together isn’t easy at present but as we slowly come back to worship together in our buildings, as we share the Thought for the Day, as we meet one another (even at 2 metres distance) we can recover a sense of fellowship. And there is nothing to stop us learning about our faith and praying.