In my devotions on Sunday morning, I thought more extensively about what it means to wait than I usually do. In Romance languages, waiting and hoping are intermingled. But Teutonic languages also have their advantages, when we think of waiting (in English) as looking forward to, and (in German) as sich darauf freuen (be glad at the prospects of).
And here, in the ten-day period between the Ascension of Christ and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, waiting becomes especially important.
After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. —Acts 1:3-4a
When I look at Psalm 33:20 in the light of the waiting we do before the Day of Pentecost, I am led to meditate on how the Holy Spirit is our Help and our Shield, for truly, the Spirit is the Person of the Godhead for whom we wait, and who fulfills our waiting. Romans 8:26-27 offers me insight into what this means, for there I read that the Spirit helps me pray, and the Spirit intercedes for me when I am unable to pray. Is there a better teacher in the school of prayer than the Holy Spirit? And what greater shield can I hope for than the very prayers of God?
Teach me as I wait to pray aright, O Holy Spirit, and reassure me that when my prayers fall short, yours will fill the gap; for Christ's sake. Amen.