Waiting

Waiting is not a very popular attitude. Waiting is not something that people think about with great sympathy. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, “Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don’t just sit there and wait!” For many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place. They want to get out of it by doing something. – Henri Nouwen

I try to imagine a ministry of waiting

I think of Psalm 130:

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!

I think of my version:

I have to wait, wait with hope for You
But it’s so hard to just wait
Wait through this darkness
Wait through this doubt
Wait through this confusion
Wait for Your light to show me the way
The way, the truth, the life
Wait with hope, and belief in Your steadfast love

I think of waiting through a pregnancy
I think of the hope, the faith
That was such a large part of those nine months

I think of waiting for a diagnosis
The hope and fear, the faith and doubt
Paired daily in the waiting

I think of waiting through treatment
When hope becomes more determined
Doubt denied

I think of waiting without treatment
When hope is no longer in this world
When doubt is only how long

I think of waiting at my husband’s death bed
When waiting was a last opportunity
To offer love in the flesh

I remember reading to him
Cleaning him, rocking him
Crooning to him

And there, there is the model
For a ministry of waiting
Waiting is when we do our part

Waiting is faith’s quiet
Waiting is hope’s peace
Waiting is love’s work

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The Frog and the Shower

It is not true about the frog.

I guess I don’t know that for sure
But I do know for sure
It is not true about me.

I love taking a shower
In our downstairs unheated bathroom
On winter evenings.

The shower curtains are too big for our shower
Because I got the dimensions wrong
And bought one too long
But not wide enough
So I bought another one
Same size
And hung them together
So the shower curtains puddle and fold
In my long shower.

The curtain(s) are almost Georgia O’Keefe
Big petalled white flowers
Big petalled yellow flowers
Big petalled white outlines
Big petalled yellow outlines
Against a gray background
All folding and puddling
In my white walled long shower
In my yellow and white
Chilly downstairs bathroom.

I’m cold
The bathroom is cold
As I get in the shower
Water already run enough
To be more than warm
On my cool skin.

Gradually, as I warm up
I turn the water hotter
But still feel the cold
Nipping around the edges
Of me and the shower
The shower walls
Stay surprisingly cool
To the touch.

There is no feeling quite like
Hot shower water
Hitting your teeth
As you stand
Mouth open
Lips pulled back
Face upturned
Under the shower head.

Gradually I turn the water
Hotter and hotter
Deliciously hot
In the cool bathroom
With the yellow ceiling
White shower walls
And wonderful
Puddling shower curtains
With big petalled flowers.

Deliciously hot
Steamy hot
As I turn my teeth
To the shower stream
Oh dear, that does sound funny
And perhaps just a bit
Like the weird old lady
I am fast becoming.

But there comes a point
A point where
No matter how gently I nudge the handle
No matter how slowly, how incrementally
How minimally I nudge the handle
The water goes from deliciously
Almost too hot
To definitely absolutely uncomfortably
Too hot.

I try again and again
Partly because I love
Staying in the warm shower
In the chilly bathroom
But always
There is that point
Beyond which I cannot go
Beyond which my body screams no.

So you see,
I do not think it can be true
About the frog.

Paraphrase of Gal 4:4-7

Sisters and brothers of Jesus:
In the fullness of time, God’s eldest Son,
our brother, Jesus, came,
born of an ordinary young woman,
born under the Israelite law,
to free those enslaved by the law
and to bring home those lost in the wilderness,
so that we all might know our reality as cherished children of God.
As proof that we are free and loved forever,
God has sent the Spirit of Wisdom into our hearts,
so our hearts now cry out to God, “Abba, Ama, Father, Mother!”
So I am no longer a slave but a beloved child,
and if a child of God then also an heir, through God.

On the Feast Day of the Slaughter of the Innocents

A Meditation on 1 John 1:5-2:2

Beloved friends,
This is the message that I understand from Jesus,
Whom we call the Anointed One.
This is the message I share with you,
Asking for your own thoughts
And your corrections, if needed:
God is the light of acceptance,
In God there is no darkness of rejection at all.
If we say, “We live in community with others,”
Yet we continue to reject some,
Well then, we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we live in the light of accepting others
As God is the light of acceptance,
Then we have loving community with one another.

The life of God’s son, Jesus, shows us how to live with God.

If we say, “We are alone, there is no God,”
We simply deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge God-in-us, God is faithful and just
And will live in us
Helping us avoid wrong thinking,
Unkind actions,
Mistaken judgements.
If we say, “We have never made those mistakes,”
Ha, we only fool ourselves
And God’s word and life is not in us.

My friends, I am writing this
So that we may not reject and despise,
Abuse and exclude each other.
But we will fail sometimes.
We will fail but that does not mean we have no hope.
We always have hope of light, even in darkness,
Because we have an Advocate with God, our loving Parent.
We have a wise big brother,
Jesus Christ the accepting one, the righteous one.
His life is the example for us to follow,
His words are a guide out of the darkness of rejection
Into God’s light of acceptance.
Following Jesus, even into exile for a time if necessary,
We will cherish innocence, not slaughter it.
We will listen to wise women and men,
Not try to deceive them or tell them what to do.
Our hearts will be lightened in community
Not darkened in exclusion.
Our spirits will be lightened by equality
Not darkened by hierarchy
And not just our hearts, not just our spirits
But everyone’s.

Who Does This?

What silly teenager tells her intended
That God got her pregnant?
What stupidly in love grown man
Believes her?
What fool looks in a cow’s feeding trough
And sees a king?
What idiot follows a homeless man
Believing him to be the conqueror?
What crazy person knows their friend was executed
And then talks and walks and eats with him?
What thinking woman recognizes toxic patriarchy
And still follows Jesus?
Please, God, if You will
Give me the grace to be
A silly, stupidly in love, foolish idiot,
A crazy, thinking woman
Who follows Jesus.
Amen.

What I Heard When Zechariah Spoke (Based on Luke 1:68-79)

Blessed be the God of all peoples,
who has come and set us free,
who has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of God’s servants, David, his wives and concubines:
Bathsheba, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Abigail the Carmel,
Maachah of Geshur, Haggith, Abital and Eglah,
Probably other wives and concubines, nameless now,
But once young women with names and dreams.
Through prophets God promised of old
To save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
Through many women – Rachel, Rebecca, Leah,
Miriam, Tamar, Rahab,
Deborah, Jael, Ruth,
Elizabeth, Mary, the mother of Jesus,
the sisters Martha and Mary,
Mary of Magdala, Priscilla, Junia,
Lydia, Lois and Eunice
and so many unnamed –
God showed mercy to our mothers and fathers
and honored the holy covenant,
the oath sworn to our father Abraham,
the oath for the children of our mothers,
Sarah, Hagar and Keturah:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship without fear,
holy and righteous in God’s sight
all the days of our lives, all the ways of our faith.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high breaks upon us,
to shine on us who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

A Woman’s Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of my divine Sovereign;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for God has looked upon this lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is the Name of the Almighty
God has mercy on those who fear the Almighty
in every generation.
God has shown the strength of the Almighty’s arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
God has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
God has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich God has sent away empty.
God has come to the help of the Almighty’s servant Israel
for God remembered the promise of mercy,
the promise God made to our fathers and mothers,
to Abraham and Sarah and their children for ever.”