How long must I wait? I have asked that question standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for warm weather to return, for test results for myself or others and for the tea water to boil to name a few examples.
We now find ourselves in the season of Advent, one of hope and waiting. The two are connected in that sometimes when the waiting seems too long our hope begins to falter. But Advent hope and waiting isn’t about the earthly stuff that passes away but rather is a focus on the eternal. Advent hope isn’t about the engagement ring, the new car or even the graduate degree as important as they may seem.
Consider the hope of the ancient Israelites who hoped for deliverance from slavery and from their own rebellious sins. Time and again God responded to their pleas and time and time again they turned their back on God, they broke the promises they made. God sent prophets to get their attention and God then tried silence; nothing worked. God waiting millennia until the time was right to come into the world in the flesh. Even there God waited. God waited 9 months to be born fully human, 30 years to start his ministry and fulfill his mission, 3 days in a grave after being crucified, and after the resurrection he waited 40 days before returning to the Father. And he is still waiting.
We talk about waiting for Jesus to return but perhaps we should consider that God-in-Christ is waiting for us to get it right and so therefore is waiting for us. We continue to turn away from godly ways, we are polluting the planet God created, we, too often ignore the least of these, the ones Jesus said we should care for. Our understanding is that there will be judgment when Jesus comes again. God-in-Christ wants all to be saved so is waiting for us to get with the program. In our Advent hope and waiting let’s reach out to others rather than expecting others to reach out to us. Christ will come again, so what are we waiting for?
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church