The excitement and joy of Easter Day is fading into the dailiness of living life in a post-Easter world. Jesus has died. Jesus
s risen. Jesus is ascended. Peter is making speeches. The tone is being set. A new apostle is being chosen. Leadership is being established. Purpose is emerging. Organization is on the horizon. The Spirit is yet to come. But already there are one hundred and twenty gathered and they are ready. The great enterprise is underway.
I am struck by the insight of that first group of Christians. First of all, they understood the need to keep moving. Jesus may have “departed,” but there was no sinking into despair. Instead they replaced Judas with someone who had been a follower of Jesus, like them. These first leaders knew they needed true witnesses to the events that had held them spellbound, terrified and, eventually, forgiven. Witnesses who would help bring in God’s future for the world.
Second, they found two qualified candidates but they left the choice to God. They cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias. They were twelve apostles once more and they were ready. But this was no act of micro-management. They had prepared what was needed, but let God take charge. Being faithful was their task. Deciding the outcome was God’s work.
Of course they could not have imagined the kind of outcome the Lord had in mind. It was one thing for Jesus to commission them to share the good news of love and forgiveness with the whole world. It was quite another thing for that to happen. Of their own talent, it was a feat beyond human power to achieve. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, it became an explosion of new life in the creation.
Living as we are in a time of transition and change, it helps us to remember that we need not be anxious. Our task is to be true to what is needed, knowing God is watching out for us. Outcomes belong ultimately in divine hands. Like those early Christians, we need not be overwhelmed.
In fact, whenever we find ourselves “in over our heads” (or tempted to think we can manage almost any situation or manipulate outcomes to our own satisfaction), we are called to pay attention to the fact it is God’s world, God loves it, and it is God’s power that gives life to the creation. All we have to do is to set the tone and God will take it from there. We’re “moving right along.” And it is good.
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves