Thursday, February 2, 2012

Waiting, waiting, waiting: Year B, Ordinary 5

This Week's Lectionary Texts
This Week's Reflection
I’m horrible at waiting. As I write this reflection, I sit on a school bus with 54 third and fourth graders as we return from a field trip. The drive is 2.5 hours of sitting in a cramped seat waiting for the driver to get us there. While I’m incredibly thankful I don’t have to drive this bunch of kids across Tennessee, I still hate waiting. Oh, how often I have wished for teleportation!

You know the old cliché, “Lord, give me patience and I want it NOW!”

“Have you not heard? Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength."

Waiting by Femto Photography
So, why do we have to wait on the Lord so much? Why does it seem to take God forever to let us in on the plan? I’m sure this sounds horrible, but I trust that I have some company here. In my line of work, I’m constantly talking with folks who are desperately seeking to follow God’s will – if only they could figure out what that will is. I believe God still speaks to us. I wish God would email or text to make things more clear, but alas, God seems to be of the Luddite persuasion. And, discerning God’s will seems to take a lifetime that sometimes feels like God is purposely withholding information.

Case in point, the gospel this week. This passage immediately follows an encounter between Jesus and a man with an unclean spirit. The writer of Mark makes it clear that the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” The first being to recognize this in the first gospel written down. Now, Jesus encounters other demons and the writer of Mark tells us up front that they know him, they really know Jesus in a way that others have not yet figured out. Seems like Jesus would let them shout it from the rooftops, but nooooo. Jesus instead quiets them so that they cannot reveal his secret. So, why did the people have to wait to learn this? Why was Jesus constantly prolonging the revelation that he was the Messiah And, why is it now 2012 and we still don’t have teleportation?
Photo by Kudomomo
Obviously, God sees some sort of value in waiting. So what is a preacher to do when 30 seconds of waiting in silence makes our congregations freak out? What are we to do when waiting at a fast food restaurant takes more than two minutes and has us yelling, “You call this fast?!”

I’ve never understood the Messianic Secret found in Mark’s gospel and my patience for waiting is practically non-existent. But, I hear God calling me, calling us to wait, to stop, to be still, to stop running. I imagine God saying, “Have you not heard? Of course you haven’t heard. You haven’t stopped long enough to hear anything.” When I sit to meditate, I often feel like I’m wasting time, like I should be doing something productive. I mean, come on! I’m actually writing this reflection while riding on this bus with my son’s class! So, I can’t help but wonder if this week God is reminding me, reminding us, that there is nothing more important than waiting for Christ to reveal himself to us.
Each photo is Creative Common License