Saturday, April 8, 2023

Wait. . .

Waiting is an awful thing.  I cannot stand waiting -- whether in line or in pacing while you live by someone else's clock or in the awkward moments while the minutes click down to an appointed time.  If there is anything sin has done, it has messed with our relationship to time and turned waiting into a curse.  Of course, there are different kinds of waiting.  Sometimes it is the dread of what is to come and other times it is the anticipation of something good.  There is the wait to hear news when a loved one is in surgery and there is the wait for Christmas morning and the inevitable presents to be opened.

Wait occurs anywhere from 130-150 times in Scripture -- depending upon the version and who is counting.  Over 100 verses address waiting.  Some verses speak encouragement to the waiting that acknowledges time is not ours to control.  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14  Some verses give hope to those who wait.  But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31  Some remind us that we wait for something good and not in dread of the unknown evil. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; Psalm 130:5.

For the Christian, waiting is not about the what if but the what for.  So it is that Holy Saturday is a day of waiting.  Christ's body lay in the tomb, hastily prepared for burial because of the Passover, and now the disciples and those who followed Him were left to bide their time.  To be fair, Jesus said over and over again that He would not only suffer and die but rise again.  He told them to go ahead of Him and He would join them.  But they were so fixated upon the betrayal, suffering, and death that the seemed to miss that part of His words.  They appeared to wait as a people uncertain of what was to come and, to be fair, they did not know what the resurrection would be like.  Yes, they had seen Jesus raise the dead, dear friend Lazarus among them, but they did not know who or how Jesus would be raised.  So they waited.  Waited to finish the rushed job of burial.  Waited for this Passover Sabbath to be over so they could do what grieving people do to salve their sorrow.

Christians are in a different position today.  We do not live in the realm of what if but the context of because.   Our waiting on Holy Saturday is awkward, to be sure, but it is also purposeful.  We know that Christ is raised.  We know that His resurrection is the precursor of our own joyful resurrection and the blest reunion with those who have gone before.  We know a new and glorious body awaits us.  But still we wait.  Ours is an impatient but joyful duty:  Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:13

In this waiting on Holy Saturday we are busy.  We prepare the altar for the Easter feast.  Brass players and choirs rehearse for the big celebration of the Lord's resurrection.  Family plans are put in place to gather in our homes as well as God's House for the wonderful day.  As we wait for Easter Sunday, we remember that our lives are lived in waiting upon the merciful Lord and His timing, for the unfolding of His plan and purpose in our daily lives and for eternal life, and for that day that will never end when we and all the faithful shall join in His presence for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in His kingdom without end.  We live in the moment but we are guided by the eternal.  May the Lord bless your day of waiting even as He blesses the Easter celebrations that prefigure the final Easter dawn.  You do not wait in vain nor do you believe in vain.  Soon and very soon we will say again Christ is risen and soon and very soon the Alleluia will be our song again.

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