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I have been thinking about the disciples’ reactions after Jesus was killed. You get the picture in Acts, chapters 1 and 2. What a crazy, amazing time in their lives. They had experienced the miracle of the death and resurrection of Jesus; other people were resurrected and appeared in Jerusalem (Imagine meeting your great-great-grandparents? (Matthew 27:53); Jesus walked and talked with some disciples, explaining many mysteries of the scriptures to them (Mark 16: 12-13; Luke 24: 13-35); Jesus did many other miraculous signs (John 20:30), and then he was gone. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until the promised Holy Spirit gift would come to them. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts. 1:12-14; NIV).
We can surmise that as the disciples stayed together for those 50 days from Passover to Pentecost, they experienced a lot of fear, anxiety, depression, grief, exhaustion—and prayer. The unknown weighed heavily upon them. Would the synagogue police or the Romans come for them? How long did they have to live? Would the gift really come, and what would it be like?
As they huddled together, they also had precious time to learn of each other, encourage each other, and share stories—much like people do after a funeral. That was time that they would never have again once they scattered to reach others with God’s message.
Now we can also experience the resurrection gifts that come with huddling together. The Holy Spirit is with us as we huddle in family/friend units—doing homework, reading books, playing games, making food, praying, and taking walks. Maybe it’s just a person and their pet. It’s precious time that may not be available to us in the future. We can be sensitive to the gift of noticing what needs attention in our bodies, homes, neighborhoods and surroundings. Children still grow, people still have birthdays. And “home” becomes more important as a place to feel safe and unmasked.
Peter preached mighty messages after the gift of the Holy Spirit. He called on people to accept Jesus’ gift of forgiveness for their sins: “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts. 2:38-39).
Perhaps we can reframe our huddle times, as times of great anticipation. Something new, different and mighty is growing beneath the surface of what appears to be a disaster. The Holy Spirit shares God’s creative and sustaining energy. There is power in the huddle!
Questions for personal journaling and group discussion:
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.