By Dori Gorman, YMCA Chaplain
Sir Frances Bacon is attributed with saying, "knowledge itself is power.” In our post-enlightenment world, we love to arm ourselves with knowledge. I can’t help but think of those “The More You Know” moments in between cartoons on Saturday mornings.
In America we were raised to love knowledge, to seek knowledge and to reward knowledge. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. That is, until you go through a season of uncertainty where everything seems unknown.
Now that Easter Sunday has come and gone, I have been reflecting on what life must have been like for those first followers of Jesus during these same weeks. All of a sudden, they found themselves living in a “new normal” as the resurrected Jesus began appearing to them and many others.
As much as they felt excitement, I imagine they also felt afraid as they wondered, “What did all this mean? What would life look like now that they were living in a new reality?”
The book of Acts describes the first actions of these followers during this time. On one of the occasions when Jesus was with them, his followers asked if this was the time when God’s kingdom would be restored so that the people of Israel would rule. The Israelites had been governed by foreign rulers for so long and they were ready to know what would happen next. Jesus responds:
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
“It is not for you to know…” Those are challenging words for me to hear—especially in the world we are living in now, where knowledge is what we crave but uncertainty is all we have.
Countless times throughout my day I wonder, “When will this end? What does all of this mean? What will life look like after COVID-19? When will that ‘after’ begin?” And while there are many thoughts and opinions about all of these questions, I wonder if I should be seeking power rather than knowledge.
I don’t mean power in the sense of egotistical might or force exerted over others. I mean power in the sense that Jesus mentioned here. “It’s not for you to know…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”
We may not have all of our questions answered, but what if God has power that he’s just waiting to give us today? The power to love, the power to serve, the power to share the hope of Jesus in our homes, in our communities, in our nation, and around the world.
Jesus is still offering this power to each and every one of us. While it isn’t bad to want knowledge, let’s make sure that in our pursuit to know more we don’t miss what God is offering us.
Let’s not miss the power we can receive today.
Lord, your power is different from the might of politics, wealth, force and greed. Thank you for your power that doesn’t rule over, but serves under. Thank you for showing us the power of surrender and the power of sacrificial love.
God, I confess I want answers. I want to know how long this time will last. I want to know what will happen once all of this is over. But in my craving for knowledge, may I not forfeit my pursuit of you.
Thank you that you offer us your power through the presence of your Spirit. May we not miss what you are offering us today. May we receive your power—the strength, hope, and love that we need to live today and to face tomorrow, whatever it may bring. Amen.
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