Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10; Ps. 146:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of Lord is near. [James 5:7-8, NRSV]
Back in my Corporate days, I would sometimes interview 8-10 people in a day for various jobs we had available. A really ineffective question to avoid asking (I thought) during an interview was what is/are your weakness(es)? One interesting response before I stopped asking this question was “Kryptonite.” I mean, really. If a candidate were truly honest in response to that question you might want to question their judgement.
Whenever I was asked this question in an interview, my response was usually “patience.” I figured it showed that I was a real go-getter. Who wants a bunch of patient people in the rough-and-tumble world of competitive business? Our motto was: don’t wait for your ship to come in – swim out and get it!
The Jewish faithful were anxious for the Deliverer to deliver the messiah/king who would restore the glory of Israel and its people to the days of King David. In today’s gospel, even John the Baptizer sends an inquiry from his prison cell: are you that one, Jesus, or should we look for someone else?
People were tired of being patient, and who could blame them? But it seems our Lord has a different timetable, and all our anxiety and impatience seem to have little effect on anything other than our own peace of mind.
Advent features opportunities to practice patience. It was amply rewarded back then, and it still is for us now. May we use this time wisely to patiently prepare our hearts for his coming. Who knows what precious crop it may produce?
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Offered by Bill Albritton, student of the Word, walking home to Bethlehem.
[Rowhouses, 2018-2019, Colin Fredrickson, Artist]