What Do I Do While I’m Waiting?

Candle flame burning
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This is my written sermon for our Circuit’s Ministry to those who cannot join worship in the building, for this coming Sunday – the First Sunday of Advent.

It is based on the set readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14, and Matthew 24:36-44

Person looking at their arm with a watch on it
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Sometimes it feels as if I spend my whole life waiting.  Waiting for appointments, for letters, for someone else to sort something, for things to change…  You will have your own list.  Like many, I am not very good at waiting!  But perhaps one of the most important questions is what we do while we wait.

This week we reach the beginning of Advent.  Advent is a period of preparation, a time of expectant waiting.

Advent calendar 
lit wooden houses on top of wooden numbers doors
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I guess that raises the question of what are we waiting for?  For many it is waiting for Christmas Day.  To celebrate, whether with reference to Jesus or not.  But we wait, not just to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but also for the Second Coming – the time when Jesus will return again.  This is the emphasis of this week’s readings.  We are looking forward, but that should be very much with an eye on how that effects how we live today.  We are waiting, but we wait actively.

Sword with black handle
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Isaiah gives us a vision of a day when “Swords will be turned into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (2:4) – a sentiment I’m sure we all long for.  Is it a vision for the future, or something we should be working to make a reality each day?  Perhaps we can look and see what there is in our everyday lives that are swords and spears that could much more usefully be used for growth not destruction.  What weapons are around us?  Do we pick them up, or try and make them something more healthy?  When and what should we be tending and growing rather than creating hurt?  It is never too early to stop fighting, to lay down arguments, to do all we can to make the world a better place.  Whilst we wait for the ultimate cessation of war, of all kinds, what am I doing to make it a reality where I am today?

Tractor ploughing a field.  The field is half ploughed the rest is green growth
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In Romans we are implored to “Wake up from your sleep, lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.  Let us live honourably as in the day.” (13:11-12)  Living honourably seems to have become a rarity in public life in recent months.  We went from the death and memory of the Queen, who lived life so honourably, to scandals in public life that seemed to be forgiven very quickly and glossed over.  But as always the question should be for me.  I am not asked to sit in judgement on decisions and actions of other people, but to worry about how I live my life.  That is all each of us is accountable to God for, how we live each day.  Does that honour God and God’s way, or detract?  Do I live in the ways of light and spread light, or bring only darkness?  When  God looks at me and my life, whether now or at some time in the future, what will God see?  What will be my legacy?

Hand holding up a leaf with the light shining around and through it
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Because as Matthew reminds us – you never know.  We never know when God will return again, and we never know when our last day will be.  If we knew today was our last day, how would we behave?  Matthew reminds us that the Son of Man will come at an unexpected time, so we should be ready.  (24:44) When I was young, I thought God could wait, that I had a life to be getting on with and God might spoil it.  Fortunately, I discovered that was not the case and I know life would have been very different without God on board. It can be easy to imagine that we have plenty of time to do something, sort out what needs doing, put right a wrong, do all we can to turn a bad thing into a good thing – but do we?  God sees today.

So, as we wait, for Advent to journey, for Christmas to come, for Jesus to return and bring us to himself, for my final day, how will I live?  In destruction or peace?  In darkness or light, dishonourably or with honour?  Living each day as if I have all the time in the world or as if it might be my last?

One of the hymns linked to today is There’s a Light Upon the Mountains by Henry Burton, (one of my favourites!) which speaks of waiting for God.  The first verse goes:

“There’s a light upon the mountains, and the day is at the spring,

When our eyes shall see the beauty and the glory of the King;

Weary was our heart with waiting and the night-watch seemed so long,

But his triumph-day is breaking, and we hail it with a song.”

And the third verse:

“He is breaking down the barriers, he is casting up the way;

He is calling for his angels to build up the gates of day:

But his angels here are human, not the shining hosts above;

For the drum-beats of his army are the heart-beats of our love.”

This Advent, and in the rest of our lives, may we not become weary of waiting, however long it seems, and live as God’s people in God’s ways.  May we live daily as the heart beats of God’s love.  For God is coming into each and every day.

May God bless us in our living, waiting and longing.


~ by pamjw on November 24, 2022.

3 Responses to “What Do I Do While I’m Waiting?”

  1. Hi Pam


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  2. Sent from my iPhone


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