It’s the beginning of a new year. Advent kicks off the church year with the wonderful season of …. waiting. Not Christmas, but waiting. We wait for the Kingdom. We wait with hope.
A few years back my church did an interactive ‘waiting’ liturgy. It started with everyone being given a number, and then taken in shifts to a waiting room area complete with magazines, chairs, and muzak to wait for your number to be called. Inside the liturgy space there was time to sit, and places to write things we were waiting for. Or at least, that’s what I hear. I didn’t make it – I was on a business trip and had booked my flight to arrive in plenty of time for liturgy. But my flight was severely delayed. I had my very own waiting service in the DFW airport.
I’ve told that story before, and felt clever for saying that last bit about my very own waiting service. But I was thinking about it again tonight and had a new realization. At first I was just disappointed – it was a special experiential night I was missing with my community. It could not be recreated. Then I was angry – I had planned so well and worked out the flights in order to make it to church. And finally I was just tired from travel, and wanted to be home, but was stymied by the airline delay.
But I still knew that I was going to get home. Yes, I’d miss something that I really wanted to be at. But I didn’t doubt that I’d make it back to Austin – even if it took longer than I thought it would. There would be other liturgies and more time with community.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to have the long view of things, and not just focusing on the current circumstances. It’s hard. Especially when the long view is long like lifelong, or til-the-Kingdom-comes long. That is a long delay. And even though my parents did a good job teaching me the concept and practice of delayed gratification, I feel the disappointment, anger, and fatigue today.
But maybe I need to remember that I will make it home. And what a home it will be.
If you’re interested in more on Advent or the Christian calendar, here are two resources: I’m again using Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God (by my friend Bobby Gross) as a way to sit in this Advent season. And I’ve also appreciated reading Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. That link takes you to a subscribe page, here is an example – today’s Advent meditation.
now playing: The Waiting Room – Sixpence