|Posted by communications on November 4, 2020 at 4:35 PM|
As I write to you on Wednesday morning, our nation is still waiting. Perhaps by the time you read this, the election will have been decided. Perhaps not. But even if there is a decisive victory this week, we will still be waiting. Waiting for the mending of relationships that have been fractured. Waiting for time and space and grace to heal some of the wounds we’ve suffered as a country. Waiting for a vaccine. Waiting for economic recovery. Waiting to hug our loved ones and belt out our favorite hymns from our favorite seat in the nave. Waiting for our lives to begin to resemble something of what they were this time last year. Waiting to find out what our lives will look like next year, and the year after that.
Waiting can be uncomfortable, but as our Diocesan bishops remind us in this video message, waiting for healing is an important part of our tradition as followers of Christ. Long before Jesus came on the scene in the first century, people of faith waited for a messianic figure to provide salvation, stability, and prosperity. During Jesus’s ministry, sometimes being physically healed required first waiting on Jesus, like when Lazarus died before Jesus made it to Bethany, or when Jesus was delayed in reviving a young girl because he stopped to engage with a hemorrhaging woman, who had waited for 12 years to be cured. Each year during Advent and Lent, we lean into the practice of holy waiting, as we anticipate and prepare for the celebrations of Christ’s birth and resurrection. We may not always like waiting, but we Episcopalians know how to do it.
I wish I had a miraculous formula to make the waiting easier, but all I have in my toolkit are the time-tested strategies you already know about. Prayer. Taking a stroll on a crisp autumn day. Getting outside your own head by finding ways to serve others. More prayer. The words that have been on my heart today as I pray and walk and serve are from the opening hymn we will sing in our online worship service this Sunday:
God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power;
crown thine ancient Church’s story; bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour.
Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us free our hearts to faith and praise:
grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of these days.
Cure thy children’s warring madness, bend our pride to thy control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal.
Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of thy salvation be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving thee whom we adore.
God grant us wisdom and courage for the waiting, now and always.
Yours in Christ,
Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969)