Wednesday Word: Patience
“Advent is patience. It's how God has made us a people of promise in a world of impatience.” – Stanley Hauerwas
There is a two-fold aspect to Advent: promise and patience.
Scripture is full of God's promises. God promised Abram that he would become a great nation. God promised Jacob both land and descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth. God promised a Messiah to deliver the world from sin and death. Advent promises the arrival of the long expected Emmanuel.
These promises, though, do not come to fruition overnight. The promise to Abram and Jacob of land and descendants took many, many years. After their freedom from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites still had to wait 40 years until they crossed over into the Promised Land. The promised Messiah finally arrived (from a Christian perspective) in the person of Jesus, but we are still waiting for his promised return.
And it's that waiting, that necessary patience, that is the other part of Advent.
We are an impatient people. We send texts and want immediate responses. If we have to be put on hold, we might just hang up after three minutes. Red lights last too long. Amazon has become a trillion dollar business because people want their tub & tile cleaner by tomorrow. A colleague told me of at least one parishioner who left his congregation because, back when churches were reopening, they weren't reopening fast enough. I'm impatiently waiting for doctor's orders to arrive at a testing facility. And have you noticed that people are so eager to have Christmas arrive but equally as eager to have it over with before January?
We have entered the two-fold season of promise and patience that is Advent. During this time of Advent promises, let us never lose hope in God's promise that we will never be forsaken.
And during this time of Advent patience, let us practice greater patience in a world filled with impatience.