Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Advent is a time of waiting - waiting in expectation, but waiting none the less. Americans don't like to way. We think that microwave ovens are too slow and that we should not have to wait for movies to download on our PCs. We are all about faster. We want it. We want it all and we want it now. We can't even wait patiently in line at a store. There are stores that will open another register when there are more than three people in line - just so we won't have to wait.

This lack of waiting has infected the Episcopal Church on both sides of the issue. On the reappraising side, they were not willing to wait for the communion to change its mind on blessing same sex unions or on ordaining men or women active outside of marriage. Even when General Convention said that we wouldn't proceed until the communion changed its mind, we didn't listen to ourselves. We got tired of waiting and moved forward. "Justice delayed is Justice denied" is the watch word of the reappraisers and they framed this as a justice issue rather than a righteousness issue.

On the reasserting side, they were not willing to wait on the communion for discipline. They saw that the reappraisers were "winning" and moved forward to create multiple overlapping jurisdictions - some from Uganda, some from Kenya, some from Nigeria, some from South America, some from Rwanda and some just cut off from TEC. They talked of the need for life boats. I've heard laymen and women complain that the souls of their children were in danger because of the confirmation classes and sermons preached by clergy in TEC.

The inability to wait on the reappraising side triggered the inability to wait on the reasserter side. Let me be clear. The troubles confronting TEC and the Anglican Communion can be laid at the feet of the reappraisers.

What we need to recover - and not just for Advent - is the ability to wait. Israel waited several hundred years as slaves in Egypt. They waited 40 years in the desert before they reaced the promised land. They waited for 400 years between the return from exhile and the coming of the Messiah. Christians have waited for 2000 years (so far) for the return of Jesus.

Can't we wait a bit longer before we insist on our own ways? Can't we wait upon God and His solutions? Have we lost the ability to wait in silence before God?

For God alone my soul in silence waits
from him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.


For God alone my soul in silence waits
truly, my hope is in him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.

In God is my safety and my honor;
God is my strong rock and my refuge

Put your trus in him always, O People,
Pour out your hearts before Him, for God is our refuge.

In this last 8 days of Advent, let's us wait up on the Lord and look to Him (and not to political wrangling) for our salvation.

Phil Snyder


Anonymous said...

Phil--You make important points and give us all a challenge.

One amazing point I have learned is that in Spanish, the word for Hope--Esperanza--comes from the same root as to wait--espero. In Spanish, to hope is to wait, and to wait is to hope.

I inability to wait may also indicate an inability to hope. Doubly unfortunate.

Bill Cavanaugh

plsdeacon said...

"I inability to wait may also indicate an inability to hope. Doubly unfortunate."

I would add that your inability to use the first person possesive case in the above sentence would indicate an inability to use English - thus making you triply unfortunate :)

On a more serious side, our inability to wait - our desire to take matters into our own hands may be evidence of despair - one of the deadliest thoughts.

Phil Snyder