Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hurry, Wait, Hurry


(Regent College just published an Advent Reader, which offers daily readings all the way up to Christmas. I'd been invited to write an entry but just couldn't manage to find the time. But no worries. I'm plenty happy reading the offerings--especially last night's, written by a certain Gary Thomas, an alumnus from 1988. His second paragraph kept me chewing all day long. God bless him and all those great writers living in Bellingham, Washington.)

In Both Seasons: Matthew 2:13-23
(Evening of December 5)

The book of Matthew begins by laboriously and slowly recounting the Messiah's ancestors. It then launches into a fast and furious exposition of events: Jesus' conception, his birth, and the glorious and fantastic prophecies surrounding the Messiah. Just as suddenly, the story takes a long pause. Between the last verse in chapter 2 and the first verse in chapter 3, nearly three decades pass before Matthew picks up the story again. This long-awaited Messiah has finally come, but all Matthew cares to tell us about his first thirty years is the shockingly sparse, "He went and lived in a town called Nazareth."

This is the way of God: long waiting, intense action, followed by long waiting. Decades may come and go before anything seemingly signifcant takes place. The Gospels testify to a patient God who sometimes takes centuries to set up his move, and who then thinks nothing of sitting on it for another thirty years until everything is just right.

Is this not also true of God's work in our lives? At times, God's activity will seem intense and glorious. At other times, it may seem as if he is taking a nap. Waiting is, by God's design, a significant part of the Christian life. Sometimes, we will feel as if we are in the center of God's work; at other times, we may feel like all we are doing is living in a simple town. In both seasons, however, we are still living the Life of Christ.

(I love that line, "a patient God who sometimes takes centuries to set up his move." It makes me think of all this poker playing that's taking place these days. Setting up his move. It's just, I guess, what poker players, spy agents, lawyers do. It makes me feel that in all my waiting and waiting and waiting something really is happening. Time is not being wasted, and good gracious I hate, intensely hate wasting time. My sitting and watching and thinking and taking long walks through the neighborhood and lying on my couch staring out the 1955-built window onto my front lawn and talking to myself while I drive and scribbling, scribbling, scribbling out a minor character in this scene, with that other character, for only God knows what reason for the play I'm currently busting a gut over--by faith and by God something really is happening.

That thought made my insides feel all sad and peaceful all day long.)
(PIC: Nicole Brunner, "Waiting," Advent 2001, HopeArts, clayboard print, imaging what she saw every morning as she waited at the same stop light on her way to work.)

2 comments:

Rosie Perera said...

Hi David, I've tried twice to email you to let you know about my blog on photography & faith, Space For God, but emails to the address I've had for you for years (your hopeoffice address) have bounced. I figure since you've gone to part time, maybe you no longer have access to your email there? Anyway, sorry for the use of your blog comments for personal communication, but I had no other way to get through to you. Please drop me a line. If you've lost my email address, leave me a comment on my blog with your address, and I'll write back.

APETH said...

David,
I ran across your blog via another invidual's link (to other blogs)....glad I ran across it, been enjoying your posts.
just curious...would you have an e-mail I could contact you at if I had any questions (art/pastor questions...)
thanks,
aubrey (aubreypeth@yahoo.com)