I was an awful baseball player as a child. It wasn’t just that my hitting was terrible (it was) or that I couldn’t technically “throw the ball” (I couldn’t…I literally rolled it on the ground instead), or even that I was so bad at catching fly balls in the outfield. In fact, my overall baseball skills were so diminished that the coaches must have put me in the right field thinking that would minimize the damage I would do to both the teams’ group effort and their sense of general capability. None of these reasons, though, were the reason why I was such a bad baseball player.
No, that reason is reserved for one thing in particular…I didn’t know how to wait. Which in baseball, turns out, is pretty much an integral part of the game. But when I was not either batting or “catching” a fly ball in the outfield, my mind was wandering. I was chasing bugs in the grass, chewing on my glove, staring at the clouds, anything rather than watching the game and waiting for my opportunity to play. (I cringe when I think of the number of times the baseball landed near me in right field as the team screamed my name to get my attention.) And it was that inability to wait well or to actively wait that made me an awful baseball player, because I was constantly missing chances to learn about the game or to even catch the ball when it came my direction.
Waiting is also an integral part of faith and discipleship too. In fact, it is such an important part that the church has historically dedicated an entire Christian season to thinking about how to wait well. That season is called Advent and it is the four weeks before Christmas. Advent is an entire time set aside for us to think about how we too can wait actively for God, and here is why: We, as God’s created ones, have it as a core part of our identity to wait on God, because we are not in charge and God’s work and will doesn’t happen on our time schedule. This is why the Israelites waited on the promised land, the Jewish prophets waited on justice, the Jewish disciples waited on the Messiah, and we too now wait on the Kingdom of God. In much the same way as my baseball example, we are called to learn how to wait well and to always then be watching for what God is doing in the world so that we can participate with it wherever it occurs.
Over the next four Sundays then, we will talk about waiting each week in the Scripture, music and message. Every week we will highlight someone who waited well and talk about how we too can wait that week in a way that is active and aware of what God is doing in our lives, neighborhood, community and world.
We’ll see you on Sunday and if you’d like to read the Scripture passage for the week you can find it here: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=157908428. See you on Sunday!
Rev Brent Ross grew up loving the Twilight Zone and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. For better or worse both of these things enter into writing his sermons every week.