Monday, December 17, 2007

Patient Waiting

First of all, to those "regulars" thank you for your patience in sticking with me through this busy time of year. With all of the other writing that I'm doing this time of year (sermons, newsletter, annual report, etc.) the time and thoughts for my blog have been a bit fewer and further in between.

This year the Advent Devotional that we got for the congregation is a collection of writings from Henri Nouwen. Last week there were a couple of neat entries I would like to share. First he wrote, "Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there." So often we think of patience as a passive thing, so I love this notion of it being active. Then yesterday's entry read:

The waiting of the Advent figures in the first chapters of Luke's Gospel is not a passive waiting. They are waiting very actively. They know that what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing. Right here is a secret for us about waiting. If we wait in the conviction that a seed has been planted and that something has already begun, it changes the way we wait. Active waiting implies being fully present to the moment with the conviction that something is happening where we are and that we want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, believing that this moment is the moment.

I love that gardening image. When a seed is planted in the spring all you can really do is wait for it to grow. The seed has to do the work. Yet, because you know that a seed is planted in that particular location there are things you do like water it and pick the weeds that might strangle it. Yet all you can do is wait, but it is an active, patient waiting. Sure there is an anticipation of the future, but you are also forced to live in the moment. That, then, is how we are called to live in our lives: actively, patiently living in the moment.

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