Psalm 27        I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Message        “Wait for the Lord!”           Rev. James. Renfrew

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

      I love these ancient psalms. Written 2500 years ago, they still intersect with what we are feeling and struggling with in the present day.

      I suppose that I selected this reading from the Psalms because I think of this season of Lent as a time of waiting. We have to endure the challenges that Jesus faced on his way to the Cross. We can’t skip over this journey and take a short-cut to Easter joy. The path to resurrection has to pass through many shadows, worries and defeats for resurrection to really make sense.

“Wait for the Lord!” Have you ever had to wait for something? When I was in high school, we had to wait at the corner for the bus. There were about twenty of us at one stop. The bus was supposed to arrive at 7:30 AM, but sometimes didn’t get there until 8:15. Why so late? Because the bus had to make two complete runs to the school before it came to our neighborhood, and every delay along the way added up to LATE. Unfortunately, the bus was on time one random day each week so we had no choice to wait at the corner at 7:30 every morning. In the cold it was no fun. To this day I remember standing there in the cold, waiting, all of us stamping our feet to stay warm.

Tell us about something you’ve had to wait for. Trying to make an important appointment but being kept on hold. Waiting for the red light to change. Waiting for the end of the school year. Waiting for Spring to arrive. Waiting for Christmas and birthdays. Waiting for your next meal. Waiting for the Buffalo Bills to win the Superbowl. Waiting for peace to take hold in Ukraine and many other conflict zones in the world. How about you?  When I say, “wait” what have you been waiting for?

Faith seems to require a lot of waiting. Waiting for hopes to be realized. Waiting for promises to be delivered on. Waiting for others to follow through. Waiting for the healing that we need. Waiting for the peace we crave. It seems like we have to wait for everything! A Christian reading of the Old Testament tells us about waiting a thousand years for the Jesus to arrive, and faithful Jews are still waiting after three thousand years for the Messiah. Three thousand years … that’s a lot of waiting! My forty-five-minute wait for a bus hardly compares to three thousand years!

When I was growing up, if I complained about having to wait for so long, my father or my mother or some other kind adult would encourage me to be patient. Your birthday is still six months away, be patient!  You’re hungry, dinner isn’t ready just yet, be patient!

Now here is my message to those who are waiting. Much of what we are waiting for has already arrived. Yes, what we’ve been waiting for is already here!  Love, mercy, forgiveness, healing, justice and peace. Jesus has already delivered on the promise!  None of these are yet to be invented. They already exist. We don’t have to wait any more. What was promised is already here! Our challenge is to believe it and live it! If you are patiently waiting for Jesus to solve all of our problems somewhere down the road, he’s already given us everything we need. There’s no waiting, just try living with what he has given us!

The season of Lent may be a good time for you to say “no” to various temptations, but I think it’s a better time to live into the promises that Jesus has already delivered.

When we gather at the table, we demonstrate the reality of Jesus’ promises made real. It’s a wonder, it’s a joy, and it begins right now. Our faith turns waiting into living!  In Jesus’ name. Amen.