When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and his Brothers.
I want you to read the verse above with fresh eyes. Read it once. Does a word, phrase, pattern, or theme grab you? Read it at least two more times. Wait for the Holy Spirit to bring something forth.
As I am doing this with you a memory from years ago floats up. I am twenty years old. I have decided to skip out on another year of college. It will be there when I’m ready to buckle down on adulthood. About midway through my year of mission work I am exhausted. Did I mention this is my second year doing this? What was I thinking?! I must be crazy. They were all right. My team and I have just finished our sixth retreat of the week. We are spent. Since I am a “second year” I am blessed to spend extra time alone to reflect on how the Lord is working in my life. I decide to spend this time at a hermitage in northern Minnesota. The hermitage is hidden in bright white blankets of blizzardy snow. It’s called Pacem en Terris. It is during these few days of silence I can recollect all the miracles I have seen. I share this fond memory with you today because I believe that the eleven apostles were doing the same thing. They just spent forty days with the Resurrected Christ. Then, in a snap he was gone. I imagine all the disciples of Jesus were full of JOY during this special time with Jesus. I also bet they were exhausted by the ministry. They were constantly giving their all. At every single moment of every single day they were serving. Have you ever done such a thing? Are you someone with the mindset of service at all times? Or is it something you aren’t too taken by?
The apostles didn’t know each other before Jesus called them to be the New Israel. I imagine Jesus saying nonchalantly, “Hey guys, you’re gonna be the New Israel, ya know, the foundation of Christianity. The salvation of millions of souls will be contingent on the way you live your life so….get along.” Geez, talk about stress…. All joking aside, they all brought significantly different lifestyles and personalities to the mix. I remember my teams during these two years of mission. Each of us being so charmingly unique. Our love for Christ is what united us. It wasn’t easy getting along twenty four seven, but we did it. Time for rest and recollection were a necessity in order that we love each other well!! We also needed to love the people we were ministering to. I believe this is the main reason why the apostles returned to the upper room in Jerusalem. Yes, Jesus told them to wait there and they were obedient. They were going there to recharge because they had been giving their all for the past forty days/three years.
Reflection: How can we give to others that which we don’t have ourselves? Sisters, you must love yourself first before you can love another imperfect being. I think as women we forget that A LOT. I think it’s especially prevalent as Christian women too. Carve out a time for YOU. Guard it and don’t be afraid of the word NO. We read that there were women disciples in the upper room with Mary the mother of Jesus. How did they act within their personal lives/prayer/boundaries? Shalom. Xoxo.