What Are We Waiting For?
I can’t stand waiting. I get very anxious. I used to play a lot of cricket (think ‘baseball’, but for 30 hours per game). I would bat at the top of the order (in baseball-speak, I was ‘the lead-off hitter’.) This was not because I was a good player – actually, there were way more talented batters on the team than I was. No, the reason they made be bat first was that no one wanted to be around me while I was waiting. I was terrible at waiting.
In cricket a player can bat for what feels like an eternity. (Imagine baseball without strikes and without the need to run when you hit the ball straight to an infielder… Baseball is a pitcher’s game; cricket is a batter’s.) So, in cricket a player can be ‘on deck’, waiting to bat, for hours. My team-mates didn’t like me when I was waiting. I’d pace up and down, predict doom and gloom, chew the handle off my bat, prostrate myself on the ground and pray that God would take this trial away from me. I was scared rigid by the prospect of failure. My anxiety was infectious. So, just out of wanting to be rid of me, they made me lead-off.
I still find waiting hard, especially when I have to do something. Advent, then, can be difficult; and I don’t just mean the 3-4 weeks until Christmas. I mean the BIG wait for God’s kingdom to come in all its fulness. That is an agonizing wait. Each day brings signs of decay and brokenness. I wonder if I have the strength and courage to last until Christ returns – whether that is in a universal way, or in an individual return to take me home.
Waiting can be easier when we remind ourselves what we are waiting FOR. So, when we talk about the coming of Christ to complete God’s kingdom, what do we mean? Here are a few we considered at the Rector’s Forum last Sunday.
- Global community. Yup, an end to conflict and anger. Gotta love that!
- Moral Perfection. You, only more so!
- Worship. OK, so maybe you’re not very excited by this prospect; but remember, we’ll be resurrected into a state and condition where worship will not be dull or not-to-our-taste, but will be our deepest joy.
- Reconciliation across lines of race. No more racism, xenophobia or cultural superiority.
- Reconciliation across lines of gender. An end to animosity between sexes, no more nasty power-plays. Say goodbye to our failure to understanding each other!
- Reconciliation across lines of economics. No one will be hungry, or sick, or live impoverished lives. All will be fully satisfied in every way.
Now, THAT is worth waiting for. I have no need to be anxious in case I fail. All I have to do is wait with patient expectation. So, we join the ancient Advent chorus: ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’