Much of our life is spent in waiting. This is inescapable, because every present moment contains a future that has not yet arrived. We may fear it, or we may love it. We may hope for it, or we may try to hide from it. But we must wait for it. In his 1981 classic, “The Waiting,” Tom Petty hit the nail on the head when he sang this enduring line:
The waiting is the hardest part.
I will confess, I do not like to wait. I don’t really think of myself as an anxious person, but waiting drives me a little crazy. But it is also true that some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with people occurred when I was standing in a line with them. Waiting is weird. It is complicated and complex because the promise of what’s next can both frustrate us and provide hope at the same time.
The idea of waiting is found all through the bible. Abraham and Sarah wait for a son. The wilderness generation waits to enter the promised land. Elijah waits in a cave to hear from God. The exiles wait in Babylon to be delivered. The whole of the New Testament is based on waiting. We begin with the people waiting for the Messiah to come and we end with the promise of Jesus’ future return. The story that helps us to understand our story is full of waiting. So, that we wait is not in question. The question is: How do we wait?
I invite you to think about waiting in the context of worship. Yes, a large part of what we do in worship is offer our praise and adoration and thanksgiving to the God that loves us beyond measure and provides for us. But that is not all we do. We also come to worship with an expectation that we will have an encounter with that same God. We come hoping to hear a word from God that will inspire us and change us. We come to worship to be reminded that as God’s people we are not called to just sit around and wait for the world to get better, but we are called to dream and scheme and imagine how we might partner with God to recreate the world around us.
So as we worship this Sunday morning, may you have the imagination to envision a tomorrow that is better for all people, everywhere, all the time and may you have the conviction to make that vision a reality.