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Are you waiting?

November 26, 2011

When I started work, I first worked for Liverpool City Council, in the Sundry Debtors Department. That was an experience, perhaps for another day.

Then I went to work as a chemist at ICI, up in the North East. Now one of the things new recruits used to do, at least at the start, was run errands, do information searches in the library (this was before the Internet), and get supplies for the lab. It wasn’t a bad system. It meant that you quickly got to know most of the key people on site, you got a good overview of how the place worked and you were useful while you were still too green to be let loose with real chemicals.

Now when you arrive, you’re all nervous and anxious to please. So they kindly give you a simple job, you’re sent down to the stores for supplies. They don’t trust you to remember what to get so its written down for you and popped into an envelope.

Off you go. You eventually find the stores and hand over your envelope to the old guy who runs the stores. He opens it, nods and smiles and goes off. After a while other people come for beakers, or heater elements or just new overalls. They get what they wanted then wander off again. The say, “Hi”, ask if you’re new, you nod, exchange names and talk. They find where you’re working and you learn what they do. Then they smile, and wander off again.

Then after about an hour or so, maybe more, the stores man calls you over, says, “ I think that’s long enough”, hands you back your bit of paper and sends you off to your lab. It’s only then that you can read the paper, and see that you’ve been sent for…… “A long weight!”

A long wait!”. Well that long wait was only for an hour, but it seemed to last a lifetime. But that is nothing compared to our long wait, the long wait of the Church for Jesus to return. Our wait has not only lasted a lifetime, its lasted two millennia ….. and is still going. Now that’s a long wait!

Maybe we are new apprentices waiting and watching and learning. Waiting for the time when we can get on with the real work of heaven. Maybe, but no matter how long we wait, we are not wasting time. We are learning, we are learning about this world, its peoples, strengths and weaknesses. We are beginning our apprenticeship to rule with Christ.

We don’t know why we’ve been sent to wait. But if we wander off, we are showing that we don’t trust, we are showing that we can’t be trusted to follow instructions. If you think about a chemical plant, following instructions can easily be a matter of life or death, for you, and for the mates you work with. You have to trust them and they have to trust you. Terrible things can happen if you fool around with the acids and cyanides, the temperatures and pressures, that I used to work with.

Advent is about recognising our long wait. It is also about remembering that the one we wait for can be trusted. That the Kingdom may not have come, but that Jesus is here now: That he never left, we have His Spirit in us all the time.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I often feel like Isaiah, when he couldn’t take the wait any longer and cried out, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

I long for the day when all the tyrants get to see Christ. All the greedy bankers and war mongers, the thieves and murderers and abusers. I get angry. I get impatient.

Then eventually the Spirit gets through to me. I smile …. Christ smiles.

No more needs to be said. I get on with the waiting. I get on with the tasks I’ve been given to make this a better place, a more heavenly place.

I pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I remember the Advent to come, and see the wisdom in those simple words, “…. and lead me not into temptation!”

So, this Advent, lets work to be ready for Jesus’ coming, not as a baby, but as Lord and King.

  1. it is such a long weight …
    but not compared to eternity
    but how can we do that
    we are human 🙂

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