One of the things you learn quickly about an international congregation is that people travel a lot. One of the ways Congregation of the Good Shepherd responds to that is to have the pastors write a mid-week message that is emailed out. I haven’t been posting them to my blog – partly because I’m still trying to work out what this blog is for in our Beijing life. But this gives a glimpse of our Beijing life – in terms of being pastors and cyclists and my, as ever, impatient self!
“There is something about cycling that encourages my streak of self-righteousness to burst forth and blossom! This is particularly evident when I am in a cycle lane waiting for a car that is stopping to let out passengers, or executing some reversing and turning manoeuvre, or creeping along looking for a park. I practically puff out my chest with indignation – here I am, cycling in the cycle lane, preventing another car being on the road, and I am having to wait for a car, a car in a cycle lane no less!
Of course, regardless of my sense of what is right and proper I still have to wait. And as we have entered into this season of waiting, this Advent, I have felt nudged by the Spirit to consider my attitude to waiting, particularly my sense of entitlement to not have to wait.
Certainly I am of a generation famed for its lack of ability to wait. The internet, access to credit, electronics – all contribute to an environment which facilitates instant gratification – or if not instant, next day delivery! Of course, living in Beijing can complicate this and the infamous intermittent internet at the pastors’ apartment gives us lots of opportunities to practice waiting.
So I have been thinking about waiting. And the difference between waiting with indignation and self-righteousness and waiting with patience and expectation. There is a third kind of waiting – waiting with no expectation, waiting with resignation, that we see in those who have no hope of their longing being fulfilled.
What is the waiting to which this season calls us? How are we to wait for the fullness of the reign of God? Is your need for grace that you might wait? For hope? For patience? For expectation? Whatever it is, our prayer is that you might receive from the fullness of God’s grace what it is you need to enter into this season of waiting. Amen! Come Christ Jesus!”
I’ll let you know if it makes me a better citizen of the cycle lanes!