We have journeyed though the season of expectation and waiting and now are about to celebrate once again the incarnation of our God. The temptation is to bask in the glow of the heavenly hosts and join the choirs singing Handel’s Messiah. Our patience has been rewarded! A reality check forces us to consider the past few months and it is obvious that the status quo is out of whack. This Advent season has been a long haul, considering all the crazy things happening in the political, sports, and entertainment worlds and the bizarre responses by leaders who should understand what it means to act like an adult, much more, act like a model for all of society.
I have never been accused of being an overly patient person, one of my many character flaws. This year, right now, I more than ever want to sing Hosanna, with the true understanding of the word meaning that I (we?) urgently look for Jesus to return and straighten out the mess we humans have made. Who but God can facilitate justice for the poor and oppressed, fix the environment, establish real peace and unity, encourage hope, to name just of few conditions that must be remedied? How can we be patient?
Maybe patience is closely connected to faith and belief? Read Psalm 96 a few times, then consider this God we are drawn to worship. Our patience becomes a secondary matter as we realize that impatience is based on our inward fears and desires and the entire Christmas message is about God coming to us for our sake. Too often I hear people complain about change, and I ponder, if God can change how he related to his creatures, why can’t we modify our attitudes and accept that things are going to be different and we won’t get our way?
After reading Psalm 96 turn to Paul’s letter to Titus. He reminds us that it was grace itself that appeared bringing healing/salvation to humankind. Our response is to be instruments that can accomplish God’s mission on earth, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God, Jesus the Christ. We are to be patient, but not inactive; at peace, but seldom still. Even on this “Silent Night” we can be God’s hands, feet, and voices.
Bishop Rodger Prois
Western Iowa Synod