February 5, 2009

wait patiently

This is one of those Sundays where the preacher has the chance to run a theme through all four lessons. I think these Sundays are pretty rare. The theme I'm finding is that patience is required.

God makes promises of restoration (Psalm). God knows your plight; he's been there (Epistle). God performs actions of restoration (Gospel). God asks that we wait patiently for ours (Isaiah).

While it isn't explicit in the Collect for Sunday, I think that perhaps it lies beneath the surface.

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Bondage is not for a moment, but for a lifetime. We have been promised perfect freedom and the abundance that is a wholeness and restoration of relationship. God knows the power of the devil, he knows how tempting it can be to sit in our self-imposed slavery because it just seems easier. But, in time, after (much) patient waiting, God will restore in us abundant life. He can do it because he saved us (sozo - save, heal, restore) 2000 years ago in the life, death, and resurrection of himself.

The challenge for us is to avoid frustration; to avoid writing God off because it didn't happen know - because we fell back into the same old pattern of self-focus. It isn't easy. It doesn't happen overnight. Nonetheless, God promises that those who wait patiently on him will have their strength renewed. TBTG!

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