Word of the Week

Active Waiting

Today in the latest installment of our "God Calls YOU!" series, we sat with the Isaiah 40: 21-31 in our 11 am worship service. It' s a passage that contains the famous verse often called upon by those in distress which says, "'But those who wait on 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."

It's a verse when read in context asks us to be active in our waiting-- to participate in our waiting, to allow God to transform us in our waiting. For as we wait, our hearts, minds and bodies are readied for what will come, though we may not know idea what that might be.

For weeks now, I've been reading and re-reading this classic text called When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd. I was delighted at the end of my sermon to share this exhortation and wanted to quote it again here because I think it gets to the heart of what active waiting is all about.

One day, while I was praying in stillness, the lines of a song I had sung during a tap-dance recital when I was five meandered into my head. I had been dressed up as a teapot. (That's right, a teapot, she said). The song went as follows

I'm a little teapot, short and stout.

Here is my handle; here is the spout.

If you turn the heat up, I will shout,

"Tip me over and pour me out!"

I interrupted my prayer (this day she says) with laughter. But as I meditated on the song, it occurred to me that the dance of the teapot is the dance we all do in the dark night. We're containers filled with an ego elixir we've brewed ourselves. When the heat is turned up inside and the old begins to burn away, we must offer God the handle and spout of our lives. God tips us over and pours us out. The "me" is poured out: the self we the lowercase 's' the old ways of being, the old ways of relating to God. We're emptied so that we can be refilled with new and living waters.

I don't know where you are in your journey of faith (or even if you are one at all) or if you are currently feeling the heat in your own life. But, this is what I know, if you find yourself in a set of circumstances where all seems dark, all seems lost, where all seems unfamiliar, then, God calls us to active waiting. God calls us to allow the spirit to refine in you what needs to be considered, redefined, and reexamined in the light of amazing grace who will help us see through the dark days too. Because this is the truth of the faith filled life: we must be poured out, poured completely out-- a process that can often take a very long time. So, that in our bones, yes down to our bones, we can taste and see that the Lord is good in those places in us that need a touch of the holy the most.

I'm so glad that Sue Monk Kidd and Isaiah 40 reminded me this week that there is no other way to wait than to be active in anticipation.