You + Me + Jesus WAITING at the Gravesite of Hope: Intro to a Lenten Journey through the Gospel of Luke

I have a suspicion: We’re all waiting—waiting for something, or perhaps for someone. Maybe it’s for a job promotion or clarity on what career path to take. We could be antsy for our hip to heal or desperate for our youngest to get out of diapers or our oldest to make it through puberty in one piece. Perhaps we’re waiting for the day we finally get to parent. We wait for love. We wait for purpose. We wait to shed fifteen pounds, to have a true best friend, to get affirmation from our dad. We wait.

Here’s a confession: I don’t like to wait. Some days waiting is a minor irritation; other times it’s a subterranean reservoir of rage.

But what if there were gifts in the waiting? What if this desert of waiting contained beauty and necessary nutrients for the terrain beyond?

I want to be grateful for the waiting, but here’s another confession: I’m not. Not yet. But I’m up for the journey that leads to gratitude, and I’d love for you to join me.

INVITATION: During this Lenten season, let’s look at Jesus’ story and zoom into the scenes when he found himself waiting—for his call to be revealed and received, to be known, to have a home, to nurture, to die, to resurrect. And let’s see if there’s anything in Jesus’ journey of waiting that can give insight—and ultimately hope—to our wait.

6-WEEK WAITING PLAN: Each week during Lent, I’ll post a reading from the book of Luke (an historical accounting of Jesus’ life) that spotlights a time when Jesus found himself waiting. I’ll also include personal reflection questions focused on the intersections between Jesus’ story and ours. I’d love to find out what you’re discovering, so please post your insights. It also may be great to do this with a friend, meeting once a week to banter, grapple, and pray.

STARTING LINE REFLECTION: What are you waiting for? What questions do you ask about God—or assumptions do you make—when you’re waiting for something important to you? What questions do you ask of yourself? Are there any unhelpful assumptions you make about yourself or others when waiting starts to shatter your hope?

The journey of Lent always begins with confession, with the invitation to express our sorrow for ways we’ve missed God and our need for more of his grace. If you dare, take some time today to be candid with God and see what comes of that.

YET ANOTHER CONFESSION: I have often doubted God’s goodness in my waiting. I have assumed He’s holding out on me. And so, I’ve felt like a victim. I’ve felt I’ve had to live a lesser story than I want, than I deserve, than what others get. Victim. Victim. Victim.

And yet I know that’s no way to wait. It’s no way to live.

When I pull back from my assumptions, I find myself asking three questions:

  1. Is the waiting worth it? Do I have cause for hope?
  2. Am I alone in the waiting? Do I have community?
  3. What should I be doing in the waiting? Do I have guidance?

These are my questions as I wait. Perhaps yours are different. But let’s see how Jesus’ life can speak into our deepest longings as we wait…and as we hope.

MY PRAYER: My prayer is that you and I will not only find renewed strength and hope in our waiting, but that ultimately we’ll get to know Jesus more truly and deeply and experience more of his love en route. Cheers to that!

Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

I Still Marvel….

@ air travel.

This morning I was in Cairo, surrounded by sand, traversing over desert.

This afternoon I am in London, gazing at snow.

Tonight I will be Brussels, where the streets are lined with chocolate shops.

On the stoop of heaven, I land.

A Speech, by the South African Sky

I entice you to move through mist,

And tiptoe among the veldt.

Come behold what you can see

Only on a day’s journey.

 

You squat low to spy bush art,

And wonder how my light

Struck rock and

Caused color to crumble.

 

You chase me running barefoot

To catch my shadow

As I dive with pinks and grays

Into the sinking sea.

 

You follow me into the water,

Mourning my death, flailing in my tears.

And then you surrender. Flat on your back,

Arms spread wide, finally at rest.

 

You find my love letter written

With stars.

Don’t rush your read.

Beloved. Be at rest.

 

Until I startle you like an angel.

Rousing you from your slumber.

Awake! The animals stir,

The birds are falling in love again.

 

As I trekked across the Drakensberg range, swam in the Indian Ocean at Tinly Manor, drove along Chapsman Peak, climbed Table Mountain, surfed Muizenberg and crossed the Nelson Mandela bridge, I fell in love…I fell madly in love with South Africa’s sky. Dramatic. Generous. Tempestuous. Enchanting. Day and night, it has so much to say.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

 

 

Things I haven’t done…

since arriving in Muizenberg (a little surf colony in Cape Town area) include:

1)   Brush my hair*

2)   Listen to, read about, watch the news

3)   Eat a proper helping of vegetables**

The US could be in free-fall off the fiscal cliff, and I could be running headlong into dreadlocks, but currently there are a couple of things that feel preeminent. For example, right now I must go see penguins. Yes, penguins! At Bolder Beach!

I also must prepare for my surf lesson, and then try, try, try to write.

And…the biggest thing I must do is savor this little fleeting time when staring at the Indian Ocean usurps brushing my hair and being up on world news.

The pounding search for a job and the long-running desire for a family may someday be fulfilled…and then I suspect new things that have felt so essential will be overtaken by others…we’ll see where hair-brushing falls in the list of priorities in the coming days…

Can’t resist the question: What are you giving up right now that in the past seemed so essential?

*I continue to wash my hair, quite often in fact.

**For the record: I love vegetables.

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