Waiting and Watching
We just finished the season of Advent, the first season of the Church's liturgical year and the one paritcularly set apart for the intentional act of waiting on God. We wait on the fulfillment of the promise of the birth of the One, the anointed, the Christ. We wait on God, incarnate. We also wait on God for the return of that One, whose advent heralds the end of time and the beginning of the eternal reign of God over a restored creation. That we give four weeks over to showing that outwardly, it is really an acknowledgment that waiting on God is pretty much our bread and butter as member of the body of Christ. We wait, and while waiting we keep ourselves busy. We tend the flocks, we perform the daily tasks that keep us going. We are active in ministry, in proclamation and in reaching out to those in need. We do all that....waiting.
And while we wait, like Simeon, Anna, Zechariah and the Psalmist, we watch. We keep our eyes peeled and search the horizon and the faces of the people we meet for signs that what has been promised will come to pass. Sometimes, that means the dread of judgment. Sometimes that means the desire for judgment and justice. Sometimes that means the notice of release to the next chapter of our lives, of the journey we take in this life before God.
Watching, and waiting...caught between beginnings and endings. It could work a person into an existential crisis, yes? Certainly, but the ability to avert the same arises from a willingness to both work diligently for, while being patiently expectant, of the kingdom-to-come in which God's justice, judgment, love and grace all flow like living waters from the common source we all share in Christ. It's just up to us, resolving to see in each moment passed, each task surmounted the progress toward to goal of reunion with God that we all desire. Taking the example of Simeon and Anna, are we still willing to watch, and to wait on God?