Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Waiting on God

Yesterday my "thought for the day" from Henri Nouwen was entitled "Active Waiting"

Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God's footsteps.

Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful - waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.

I’ve been reflecting alot on the process of waiting…of being wholly in the present moment because at the moment there’s nowhere else I can possibly look to…
I don’t know where I’ll be living, who I’ll be working with, what new frienships, delights and frustrations lie in wait for me in the next few months.
I can’t spend my time constantly teetering on the brink of farewell…that way madness lies.
So, for the moment my calling is to be fully here without worrying or wondering about what comes next.
Easy to write.
Doing it? Hmmn…not quite so good.

One of the liturgies in the first edition of the Iona Wee Worship Group included a response
“So thank you for the waiting time” – and in this thanksgiving week I’d love to be able to pray that with conviction.
But I’m a doer. I want to get on with the next thing (usually well before I’ve finished the one before – I have a zero score as “completer/finisher” on the Belbin tests) . Though I promise I don’t see the world, or even the C of E, as something to subdue, I can sympathise with Alexander the Great who reputedly wept when he discovered that there were “no worlds left to conquer” because I like the thought of new horizons, fresh outlooks…

Just too bad, really.
I’m not called to be adventurous.
I’m called to be faithful.
To live in the here and now because actually, here and now is all that I have.
This is where I must look for God and expect to find him.

"The meaning is in the waiting".


Disillusioned said...

Thank you for posting this, K. Your thoughts about waiting apply very much to me at the moment - only I am useless at waiting. I'm a doer - if there is a problem, I need to be solving it, working at it, getting the job done. Sitting back and waiting - however actively - is not in my emotional vocabulary - and it needs to be, it needs to find its place in my life. So thank you for prodding me to remember that waiting is OK too.
Thing is, I feel like I have been waiting so much recently - and the bus still hasn't appeared.

Anonymous said...

this is such a timely and encouraging post for me kathryn. Thank you.

praying for your time as lady-in-waiting ... and discernment.

Danny said...

Thanks for this post, very timely for me too, living wholly in the moment is very hard to sustain when we are travelling towards a new and different destination.

I like the idea of finding meaning in the waiting...

RevDrKate said...

This is so lovely and apt....I loved that Nouwen meditation when it popped up, too. And your refelction on it adds even more.

Anonymous said...

don't 'wait' - that is too absent. ground yourself in the moment. treasure the here and now. notice your thoughts and fears and worries about the future then come back to just how wonderful your curacy is today. by waiting so actively you are also wishing it away. you will miss things that happen now, you've not moved on yet.....

Kathryn said...

Dear Anon - I think for me the whole point about the Nouwen reflection and my response to it was, as you so wisely say, that here and now is something to treasure. The waiting isn't a wishing away process but rather a recognition that as I don't know what shape the future will be, the thing I'm called to is complete presence here in this moment.

dp23 said...

Psa 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
Psa 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

and many others!

Happy said...

Very timely for me, too, Kathryn, as I'm waiting for the new season to which God is calling me to become clear as well. Thank you for sharing this. :)

Do you know where the Nouwen quote is from? I might want to use it for Sacred Space - which is in 10 days!!!! :)