Wednesday Word: Preparing for the Unpreparable
Advent is the season of waiting and preparation. It is the season of active quietness.
Sometimes we know exactly for what we are waiting and preparing. Right about now most of us are waiting and preparing for Christmas. Decorations are going up. Mailing lists are being reviewed. Cookies and mom's fudge are being made. Or maybe this year we have scaled back on all of the above because, to be honest, COVID has taken a toll on our ability to be joyful or productive. But however we are preparing for Christmas, we know it's coming and so we wait and prepare in our own way.
Sometimes we wait and try to prepare for the unpreparable. But how can we prepare for that of which we only know will be life-changing? How can we prepare for something of which we have only seen from the outside and for which we wait to be ushered into the inside? How can we prepare to take on something that will ultimately lead us into a new way of being?
I suppose all of the above can be applied to any aspect of our lives. Everything from getting married to accepting a new job or making a career change to deciding which college to attend will, if we think about it, lead us into a new way of being. We really aren't prepared for all that marriage throws our way. New jobs and careers have challenges we didn't see coming. And so it goes that we wait and prepare as best we can for what we think is coming.
I think all of this came to mind today because a friend and seminary classmate is one of the Final Four nominees for Bishop of Chicago. Their electing convention is this Saturday, so it's very possible that the Seabury Class of '04 will have its first bishop.
This week is probably the ultimate Advent week for my friend. He (and the other three nominees) will be patiently waiting for the outcome of the election. They are all preparing for Saturday. But how does one exactly prepare for the possibility that you might be a bishop by the end of the week? How does one prepare to not be shocked when you open your closet and see a row of purple shirts instead of black? How does one prepare to lead a diocese, not just a parish, and have canonical authority and oversight of possibly a few hundred other clergy?
My friend is preparing for the unpreparable.
So on this Wednesday and through this week, I would ask that you keep the Rev. Dr. Fulton Porter, his family, and the Diocese of Chicago in your prayers as they wait in preparation for the outcome of an election guided by the Holy Spirit that will determine their next bishop.
And regardless of what we are waiting and preparing for, may we always wait in prayer and be prepared to be changed into a new way of being.