15 Mar Waiting on the World to Change
How do you handle waiting? I don’t know anyone who actually likes to wait, but waiting is a pretty regular part of all our lives. We wait in line and in traffic. We wait on our spouse or children. We wait on the nurse to call us or for the repair technician to show up. We wait for things to begin or end. Right now, I am waiting on flip-flop weather. Day after day of this cold, blustery wind has gotten old. I’m eagerly waiting to trade in my parka and gloves for shorts and a t-shirt.
I’m waiting on much more than the weather to change, though. In fact, I seem to be in a season of waiting. At home I’m waiting on new windows to be shipped and installed. I’m waiting on a recently ordered chair to arrive. I’m waiting to learn whether my son is accepted into the advanced education program for which he has applied. I’m waiting to see how my aunt’s body responds to the chemotherapy treatments she is enduring and what that means for the lymphoma that is threatening her life. I’m waiting on my accountant to tell me the bad news about my taxes (because when it comes to taxes, that’s the only kind of news I get!) I’m waiting alongside my daughter for her significant other’s deployment to Afghanistan to begin next month—and then we’ll be waiting throughout a long twelve months to see him return.
At work I’m also waiting. I’m waiting for Holy Week to begin. I’m waiting to learn who has said “yes” to the invitation to become a new Elder. I’m waiting as we discern what new initiatives God is leading us to take to serve our neighbors. I’m waiting for the organ pipes to be installed after two years of preparation. I’m waiting with a member of my church in anticipation of a baby’s birth this summer. I’m waiting to see what the total cost is going to be from our recent building “debacle”—the roof, heating system and plumbing system all springing leaks within a two-week period. (Water was coming through the ceiling on the second floor, from a boiler pipe in the basement, and from the toilets on the ground level all at the same time—it was like a watery nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day!) I’m also waiting to see how God is going to provide for all these repairs. I’m waiting as I discern what the next step is in developing discipleship opportunities for our community. I’m waiting to see who feels called to mentor our budding 6th-grade chefs and tutor the students from the elementary school next door so that these vital ministries can continue.
We Protestants often don’t give as much thought or attention to what our Catholic brothers and sisters call “Holy Saturday”—the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is a day that is all about waiting. We are waiting on God to act. Waiting on darkness to give way to light. Waiting on evil and death to be overcome by goodness and life. Waiting on the resurrection to signal the start to a whole new reality, a whole new way of living.
We do have one significant advantage over the disciples. In the aftermath of the crucifixion, they had no idea that Easter was coming. They didn’t know how long their waiting would last. They were scared and understandably so. Look what the Romans had done to Jesus—why should their fate be any different? Perhaps they wondered if following Jesus had just been a colossal waste of time. What was the point of it all? What were they supposed to do now? Jesus’ teaching didn’t seem to make any sense once his broken body had been placed in a borrowed tomb.
Post-resurrection, the disciples were still waiting, but it was a completely different kind of waiting. After the resurrection Jesus’ followers began waiting for his return, but it was waiting filled with hope, joy, and purposeful action. They began preaching and teaching, feeding the poor, taking care of widows and orphans, healing people, baptizing new believers and proclaiming the arrival of God’s Kingdom—just as they had seen Jesus do. They carried on Jesus’ legacy and mission. They waited as they worked and worked as they waited. They waited with expectation. They waited faithfully and obediently. They waited by doing the next right thing. They didn’t have all the answers. They didn’t know when Jesus would be back. They didn’t know how they would get all the resources they needed. They simply waited in anticipation of God’s kingdom by working for that kingdom in their everyday experiences.
It occurs to me that that’s exactly how I should be waiting—waiting hopefully and expectantly, faithfully and obediently. I don’t have to know everything today. I don’t have to have the five-year plan. I can do the next right thing as I wait on God to make other steps clear. And that means I can experience waiting as holy time. How about that for a new post-resurrection reality?
Yours for the Kingdom,
For more information on our Lenten series, click here.