Purposeful Waiting

Do you mind waiting? Our consumer oriented society is so fast paced that waiting, even if it be a few minutes, for instance, to be served at the supermarket counter, or, to see a customer service person at the bank, are challenging for some people. Waiting features in much of the lectionary readings for Sunday, and Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome (Romans 8:12-25) is no exception. The text in The Message version of the Bible, has, at my last count, five references to both wait/waiting. The Christian’s in Rome are getting tired of waiting for Jesus’ return and think that Jesus should just come now so that they can quit waiting for the world to be made right again. But Paul says that it doesn’t work that way, even though they think otherwise. Paul tells them that they have things to do while they wait for Jesus return, things that will help everyone learn about God!

Two things come to my mind to help reinforce the importance of purposeful waiting. The first is to do with the wicker basket that lays under the table in the foyer area of this building. The second is about a conversation I had last week with one of our parishioners and her experience of having crossed the road to be a good neighbour.

First, the wicker basket. We often, at least I have on occasion, given it a brief glimpse as we walk past it to enter the worship space. You may have wondered what on earth is its purpose in being there. As I understand it the basket is put there for you and me, and anyone else who feels inclined, to put non-perishable food stuff into. When a substantial amount of food has been collected, those are then passed onto a community organisation which helps the needy for distribution to those in need of food.

Second, involves the story about one of our parishioners helping a stranger. Now, the person lived on the other side of the road from the parishioner. Somehow, this parishioner had heard through the community grapevine that this person was unwell, suffering from some health issue. Wanting to be a good neighbour our friend decided she would go across the road to meet her neighbour and see how she could be of help. She discovered the neighbour was in need of help and was so appreciative of her visit and her desire to help her and as a result, a good friendship has evolved.

Both, are wonderful, yet, simple ways of doing activities that demonstrate to people how much they are loved by God. These are good instances of the church purposefully waiting by way of active engagement in the mission of God, as it awaits the final consummation of all things. To be doing nothing is to miss the point of being the church actively proclaiming in word and deed the hope the kingdom of God brings. I pray that you would be purposefully waiting (or, waiting purposefully!) even if it is simply crossing the road to respond to the needs of strangers or collecting food for the needy. Both are examples of being a good neighbour.

The Lord bless you on your Pentecost journey as you continue to be a blessing to others.

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