The first reading for this coming Sunday.
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
This passage strikes me as a wonderful description of where we spend most of our lives – In Between.
We live In Between our baptism into Christ and the culmination of our hope.
We live In Between the promise of the reign of God and the fulfillment of that promise.
We live In Between “In the beginning” and the final “Amen.”
We live In Between the Alpha and the Omega.
The question for us is not, as the disciples tried to ask, when will all of this happen? When will we no longer be In Between?
The question is, How are we to live IN this “In Between”? How are we to live as people who have received a promise, but who have to wait for its fulfillment?
The disciples, for all their failures, get this one right. They gather, they pray, they support each other, they go through the In Between together.
One thing we might need to remember is that, even though Pentecost eventually came with all of its Spirit-driven hurricane-like impact, the disciples were still In Between. The Spirit came, but the church was still only “on the way.” It had not arrived. We still haven’t.
And that’s ok!
We are called to embrace the In Between. Even as we have been embraced IN the In Between.