Archbishop Fred Hiltz: Sermon from the Opening Eucharist of the 41st Session of The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
BY FRED HILTZ, ARCHBISHOP AND PRIMATE ON JULY 7, 2016
Imagine with me for just a few minutes that tiny little community that was the infant Church—Peter and John and James and Andrew and Philip and Thomas and Bartholomew and Matthew and James son of Alphaeus and Simon the zealot, and Judas son of James together with certain women including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem.
They had just returned from the mount called Olivet where the risen Lord had commissioned them saying
“You shall receive power when the Holy, Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
When he had said these things, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.
And now they are back in the city. One wonders how they spoke with one another about all they had heard and seen, how they understood Jesus’ commission and how would they go about the work given them? What did they make of Jesus’ reference to the Holy Spirit? How would the Spirit come upon them? Where might it take them? Would they plant new communities of faith? How would they nurture them? What trials might they face? How might they suffer for the sake of the Gospel? How might their witness be remembered in time?
While we might wonder about all these things, we know this one thing, that according to Luke “they were constantly devoting themselves to prayer”. (Acts 1:14) Prayer one supposes that they be ready to receive the Holy Spirit whenever and however it would come. They simply trusted in Jesus’ word that they would be empowered, graced and guided for the work entrusted to them. They prayed expectantly.