Saturday, December 22, 2018
by Cheryl Sullivan
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from
the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient.
Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so
that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and
patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
In our world today, waiting and slowness are scarcities.
We purchase passes so that we can enter the Express Lane in traffic, we secure the most rapid internet
options, we buy fast food, we subscribe to executive summaries, and we strive for quick answers. A
recent article in Time magazine entitled “4 Ways to be More Productive, According to Experts” prompted
us to swift, efficient actions.
During the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, while the Christian calendar calls us to the
contemplation and preparation of Advent, the world pushes into frenzy. We encounter Black Friday,
celebrations, productions, cooking, buying, wrapping, and travel.
In the midst of our busy times, today’s scripture reading calls upon us to slow down.
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.
This simple direction is not easy. Peter Marshall, the well- known Presbyterian minister and Chaplain of
the United States Senate, offered prayerful words that might guide us:
Teach us, O Lord, the discipline of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.
Patience as a discipline? How can that be? Perhaps we need to decide on intentional waiting. Maybe
we should add time and space around everyday chores and seasonal expectations. We can give
ourselves permission by attending to the Finnish expression that “God did not create hurry.” We do not
have to rush around in order to please God.
Our scripture passage from James reminds us that in agriculture, waiting is required for the fields to be
ready for harvest. And, there is reference to prophets of old who had to wait for the scripture to be
fulfilled. Think of Abraham. Consider Job.
Christmas, with the joy of the Christ child is coming. But patient waiting has its own reward. As stated by
the West African Kanuri, “At the bottom of patience one finds heaven.”
May this day be heavenly.
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