This past Wednesday a small and hearty group gathered for the first of three Advent Wednesday Worship services designed to help us be intentional about our journey and our waiting—waiting for Christ to come again, waiting in the space between now and then, waiting for the joy of the season to fill our hearts and waiting for answers to our questions about the future of our faith community. Golly, that is a lot of waiting.
Our guest preacher used Mary’s pregnancy as a metaphor for our own birthing process. With colorful images of burgeoning bellies bouncing on a burrow and every part of your body from the earlobes to the tips of your toes feeling ready to “have this baby”—we all could identify with the feeling of impatience that comes when you have been waiting for a very long time for something so very exciting to arrive.
Beloved, we have been like a expectant mother these past many months, both delighted by the possibility of this new thing that is on the way and ready (oh, SOOOO ready) for the pregnancy to be over and the baby to arrive! Like a mother who is careful and committed to caring for her yet unknown, unborn child—we too have been nurturing and loving this new thing that is unknown and yet to be. We have been holding gently the whole Crossroads process with deliberate, loving care; building a strong foundation with the prenatal vitamin of shared conversation; energizing the soul of our community with the protein of great worship; cleaning out that which the Body no longer needs with the fiber of discernment; and building a nest for the new thing with the practice of organic prayer. Like a mother who is getting ready to pop, we are getting fat with possibility.
Yet, we are not ready and the midwives are saying, “Not quite, my dears.” The preacher reminded us that the baby never arrives on our schedule—rather the birthing happens when the new thing is ready—in God’s time. And so we wait some more, fat with possibility and praying for patience.
She also explained that the etymology of the word patience leads one to a spiritual definition of patience as “passionate expectation.” Wow, if that does not get a great big, “Amen! Preach it Sister!” from me. We have been energized and engaged throughout our process so far. As we get closer to the delivery, we will get heavy and fatigued with the fullness of it all, but we can still proceed with passionate expectation. I pray that as we continue on our journey, to Bethlehem and beyond, as we patiently nurture and lovingly nourish this new thing we are birthing, that we might do so with passionate expectation that GOD is doing a new thing through us and that it will be perfect, and beautiful, and glorious, and everything that God needs for it to be—and it will arrive just in [God’s] time!
Blessings, Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade, firstname.lastname@example.org