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Patient Endurance

We stand waiting and watching. We have a new copier- it is slower than the last one. I am calling it the “copier of patience”. We get to both make beautiful copies and engage in the spiritual practice of waiting. How excellent for a church copier- serving more than one purpose. It takes about 30 seconds for a copy after it has been sent from a computer.

In a day and time of instant and immediate everything -from instant streaming of a video download - to a package that can be delivered to your door on the same day you ordered it- patience is often in short supply.

I wait at the red light, having hit every red light on my way to work that morning, and I notice my impatience.Now. In this moment I want that red light to turn green. I catch my constricted breath and remember- impatience, anger, frustration, irritation will not be good fuel to prepare me to arrive a few minutes late to an early morning bible study. Taking a deeper breath I find the humor and irony in my impatience as I head to church to sit in silence to hear God’s word for me.

This Taize instrumental music can be heard by clicking on the picture of this blog post. These words can be chanted with that music.

Wait for the Lord

Whose day is near

Wait for the Lord

Keep watch, take heart

To quiet the mind and open the heart is a learned practice. As you read this, take a deep breath. Perhaps try placing your finger on the soft part of your neck where you can feel your pulse and connect with your heart beat. Listen to the music in the video above and let your mind quiet. This weekend we hear about patient endurance in Luke 21:19. By your patient endurance you will gain your life. The Greek word for endurance is ὑπομονῇ- hupomoné. (hoop-om-on-ay’) . This is a particular type of endurance. Patient endurance. Waiting, Trusting.

Letting go of our timelines, agendas and expectations are life long practices. To let go of our need to know what is next and when certain things will happen- we get to entrust our futures into the hands of the One who holds the future. This is a faith practice- one day, one breath at a time.

Recently while reflecting upon the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can, and

Wisdom to know the difference.

I was reminded how distinguishing what is/isn’t mine to change can take time. To wait. To practice patience. To pause when agitated, uncertain, afraid. These are all ongoing growing areas and I have seen so much progress in myself.

After I arrive just a few minutes late, I catch my breath. I remember I am human and there are days where I hit every red light. I didn’t miss a flight. I didn’t leave a child waiting outside in freezing temperatures. This lateness needs to be put into perspective. Practicing patience can also allow us to practice perspective taking.

Wait for the Lord. I am reminded my part is to change the things I can. I ask God to grant me serenity so that the entire day is not tainted by an early morning misestimate of traffic and traffic light patterns. Next time. Next time I will add that extra 5 minutes.

These are simple and small examples of practicing patience. Mustard seed sized. So to allow for God’s grace to surround and sustain me- I let go of my harsh inner critic that has no perspective. Instead, I will remember that waiting is a spiritual practice and the patient endurance we are invited to learn and practice -God will provide for us- many ways and means to do so.

Our part is listen, to wait, to tap into the wisdom to discern and know the difference between being late by 4 minutes to a bible study and leaving a child out in the cold and missing an airline flight. For this learning of patient endurance - the opportunities are daily. God is with us. We can connect with God as we wait for a copy or at red light. And when we miss the flight or make a mistake that is more serious-- we get to trust in God's abundant grace and compassion. This is the God we get to trust- who is with us in each breath we take.

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