Sunday, September 11, 2016

Wait For One Another

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes…Therefore, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.  1 Corinthians 11:26, 33

And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.  Luke 7:6-7


Song by Cletus Kennelly that he wrote on September 13, 2001

Wait. Waiting.  One meaning of wait is to be at rest and inactive.  However, another way to look at it is to be ready.  Two things strike me about these readings. One is action and the other is lack of action. A very Christmas “Oh Come Emmanuel” feeling.

St. Paul recounts the creation of the Eucharist and he tells people to act.  Do this.  However, in spurring his followers to action, he also tells them to no act.  When you come together, wait for one another.  Don’t start the celebration until everyone is there.  Wait for one another before you wait on one another.

Waiting is not solely a passive activity.  Waiting is something that is engrained in sacred scripture and tradition. From the earliest days, the people were waiting for the Messiah.  That carried forward to the shepherds watching their sheep in the field on the night before Christmas. It also was important in the passion when Jesus asks will no one wait up with me while I pray?

Luke recounts and action and reaction story as well.  The centurion wants Jesus to come heal his servant.  And as word gets to Jesus, Jesus sets out on the healing mission like the father in the Prodigal Son story.  Jesus does not wait.  While Jesus is still a long way off, the centurion sends other servants to tell Jesus not to bother coming any further. Jesus turns and goes away but the faith-inspired healing action has already taken place.  Whether or not Jesus reaches the physical destination, he has reached the heart of the centurion. That, it seems, is close enough.

Jesus does not sit around waiting.  He goes out to get things done – even if it means acting to heal someone on the Sabbath. Jesus is a man of action.  We do not find him waiting around without a purpose.  Everything he does has a reason and a season.

For what are you on the look-out? Maybe you are waiting for a doctor to call with test results or news of a pending procedure.  Maybe you are waiting for a package that you ordered to be delivered.  Maybe you are waiting for the letter carrier to bring news of a college application or a phone call about a job interview.  Maybe it is just for the traffic to start moving so you can get to your destination somewhat close to being on time.

Please wait to be seated.  Wait here for the next available agent.  Stop Here and
wait for the gate to open. Even when you call someone on the telephone, you are probably placed in a cue. The Doctor will see you now. Do this.  Don’t do that.  Can’t you read the sign?

On the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, the disciples were once again found sitting around waiting and looking up.  Why are you standing around looking up?  Jesus told us what we need to do. It did not include standing around and waiting.  It included commands like “Remember me.”  Or “Feed my sheep.” 

So, what are you waiting for? You already have an invitation for a dinner to honor Jesus of Nazareth.  

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