Saturday, June 28, 2014

Do the Work

What a day!  Ok, not really, “what a day” in the usual sense of that expression.  It isn’t said from a position of exhaustion at the end of an overwhelming day.  It is not said with exasperation after a day of wrestling and confusion and mis-communication.  It is not said, on the other hand, with a great sense of accomplishment over a job well done.  What a day, in this case, simply means, man, there are distractions aplenty out there!

See our internet provider “upgraded their service” which means the equipment we have doesn’t really work all that well any more and we need to upgrade the stuff to match the upgrade on the service.  Well, the new modem came yesterday and I decided to wait until today.  So, did that, we are back online with new equipment and new service and woo hoo - I can’t really see any difference.  But there you go.  It took time, longer than it should have finding all the connections and sorting our the rat’s nest of cables we have strewn across the built in desk in the home office.  Built in before anyone thought that maybe we will need to run miles of cables all over it just to send an email.  

Anyway, did that.  Now I’m ready to work.  Except the dogs need to go out, and apparently so does every other dog and toddler and old guy in running shoes.  So, it was a tug of war between me and the crazy dogs.  Oh, yes the mowers came and we had to express disapproval of the volume of the equipment or something.  And the house across the street is undergoing major renovation which apparently takes a cohort of workers who insist on being noisy, at least in the opinion of a couple of very opinionated dogs of dubious parentage.

Anyway, did that.  Now I’m ready to work. Except that Maddie is home and was trying to do a project her mother gave her before leaving town for the day and I had to keep coming in to help her with the project - that frankly I didn’t understand either, even though I’ve done it myself a few times. And then, in the midst of that, Maddie decided that the fact that is was lunch time meant someone owed her lunch, and since the crazy dogs and the upstairs cats weren’t volunteering to fix a meal for us (they said something about not having opposable thumbs - I suspect they just didn’t want to bother), I had to get up and do that too.

Anyway, did that.  Now I’m ready to work. Except that somewhere along the line my brain did a file dump and I can’t think of a thing to write.  Great.  Bodes well for church tomorrow too. Argh.

What a day.  There is work to do.  And I want to do it.  But everything else gets in the way.  Do the work! At least that is the advice of mentor Paul to his young charge Timothy in our reading for this week.

2 Timothy 4:1-5  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you:  2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.  3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires,  4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.  5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. 

Do the work, Timothy.  Do the work.  What work exactly?  Do the work of an evangelist.  Oh, crumbs.  That’s what we’re talking about here?  Do the work of an evangelist?  Ranking slightly below used car salesmen and members of government, who in the world would want to do the work of an evangelist?  Who in their right mind would want to do the work of an evangelist?  Do they?  Would they?  Would you?
Do the work.  What is the work of an evangelist?  Um, dunno, but doesn’t it involve loud suits and big hair and the ability to pronounce God with multiple syllables?  Doesn’t it involve constant fund raising and sketchy gimmicks purported to bring one closer to God and pointing fingers and weeping crocodile tears over the sinfulness of the world as a sign of God’s disfavor and ostentatious wealth as a sign of God’s favor?  Doesn’t it involve asking people if they were to die tonight where would they spend eternity, and the uplifting message of comfort and grace encapsulated in the word “Turn or Burn!”? 

Well, in a word, no.  No it doesn’t.  That isn’t anything like the work Paul wants Timothy to do. Yes, this passage is full of imperatives.  Paul is urging Timothy on.  Like a parent shouting from the stands at the high school basketball game (“shoot the ball, Timmy!) He is giving advice, and the list is impressive.

It ends with that all inclusive, catch-all: carry out your ministry fully.  Do it all, Timmy, do it all.  Don’t leave anything undone.  What a day, Pastor Tim would declare from time to time after doing it all.  What a day.  OK, what is the full work of ministry, Paul.  Well, replies Paul rubbing his hands together, let me give you a list!

Paul and his lists.  What a day.  OK, here is the list: proclaim the message, convince, rebuke, encourage, teach, stay sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist.  Yeah, that’s got it covered.  Wow, what a day.  How in the world can one have a sense of accomplishment?  Or of completion?  It seems an on-going never ending task.  Do the work.

Well, and then add to that the little interlude Paul inserts in the conversation.  “There will come a time.”   Well, guess what?  That time has come.  Itching ears abound in our world these days.  Distractions aplenty, myths that seek to redefine life in ways that are a little more palatable, a little more controlled, a little more certain, a little more causal - do this and get that.  Yeah, that stuff sells to itchy ears.  The work of the evangelist is an uphill slog.

Which is why Paul tossed in two attitude words.  He not only gave Timothy the what, he gave him some of the how.  How does he encourage and rebuke, how does he convince and proclaim, how does he teach?  With persistence. No matter what obstacles you encounter, no matter the level of readiness of the hearer, keep going.  Keep sharing, keep living the life outwardly, keep hoping.  

That’s the other how word.  With utmost patience.  Not just with patience, but with utmost patience.  Why, because you are dealing with people.  And people can try your patience.  They can wear you down.  They can make you throw up your hands in disgust and despair, and walk away.  If all you’ve got is garden variety patience, you are doomed.  You need utmost patience.  

The old word for patience was long-suffering.  It means to be able to endure a lot of pain, a lot of trials, a lot of rejection and still keep loving, keep teaching, keep hoping that one day something will get through, will overcome the itchy ears filled with so many voices and they will hear the clear, quiet voice that we hear, or have heard at some time. The Voice that lifts us up and reminds us we are worth more than we can imagine, we are loved more deeply than we can comprehend, and that we are privileged to participate in the building of the kingdom, the community of faith.  

So, do the work.  Not to irritate or drive away.  Do the work of building God’s kingdom.  Do the work of loving, of healing, of reconciling.  Do the work of transforming, of saving, of redeeming.  Do the work, knowing that it is God who works through us.  And all that work is being done in us at the same time as we are working in those around us.  Done in us.  With utmost patience.  Do the work.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wait For It

I hate to wait.  That was a commercial ad campaign some years ago.  I don’t remember what it was for, but I remember the tag line.  I hate to wait.  Because I do.  We do.  Waiting is not something we value in our instant gratification culture.  Waiting is a sign that something has gone wrong.  An indicator that there is a foul up in the works somewhere.  How many times have you told the story of the time you were in your airplane, ready to go off to some exotic locale, only to find yourself stuck on the runway for hours on end, while the re-circulated air began to smell like a group of people who hate to wait?  How many times have you been reminded of the time you sat on the interstate trying to get somewhere and already late while the traffic stretched on over the horizon into infinity and only moved by inches at a time?  How many times have you calculated the time it would take to abandon the useless vehicle and walk to your destination, knowing that it would still be faster to stay where you were, but you almost did it anyway, because you hate to wait?

Too many.  You snarl about fast food that comes too slowly.  You gripe about meetings that serve no useful purpose and also drag on and on into infinity.  You wonder when or if the preacher is ever going to get to the point, because you were hoping for one of those rare occasions when you could get out a little early, but that hope died in the drone of a voice that seems to think there is all the time in the world.  I hate to wait.

Yet we do.  All the time.  Way too often.  If only the world were run better, run like I would do it.  Why put in eleventy-seven check out lanes and only open two?  And staff them with three toed sloths who get nose bleed if they go too fast.  Why do some people stare at the menu over their heads as though they forgot how to read English and that a burger and fries seems beyond their pronunciation capabilities.  And I know it says 35 in town, but no one really expects you to drive 35!  Surely everyone knows that!?  I hate to wait.

Wait.  One of those four letter words that we don’t like to use in mixed company.  Wait.  We can’t even say it without a sneer, without an exasperated sigh, without an explosion of sudden anger and frustration.  Wait!  Why in the world should we want to wait?  Ask a kid on the threshold of Christmas if they think waiting is a good thing.  Ask a bride on the night before her wedding.  Ask a soldier who has received orders for home.  Ask a dog who hears the garage door - the correct garage door - begin to go up.  Do you enjoy the wait?  Is that even possible?

Isaiah 40:28-31  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah says yes.  Yes it is possible to enjoy the wait, he says.  Not only enjoy, but be sustained by.  Be strengthened by.  It is in the waiting that we get our wings, he says.  In the waiting we live fully, we live for the long haul, we live in today for tomorrow and not the tomorrow of the next sunrise, but the tomorrow of the next Son rise.  To live is to wait, and to wait is to live.  That’s what Isaiah says.

And then maybe he’s just a crazy old coot who has had one too many late night conversations with God.

Chapter 40 is a transition chapter in the book of Isaiah.  One of the longest prophetic books in the whole bible, Isaiah has more mood shifts than ... well, than is healthy.  Angry one moment, full of rage at the way the world is, he is the soul of poetic comfort and hope in the next.  Wagging his bony prophetic finger at all of us who dare to think for ourselves once in a while, he breathes fire upon our self-centered, self-seeking ways.  And just when he seems ready to squash our hopes and dreams he becomes the kind-hearted grandfather who wants to gather us up and bring us home.  He promises a life of peace and transformation seemingly moments after he pronounces doom upon the face of the earth.

It’s no wonder that many, if not most biblical scholars believe there was more than one Isaiah.  More because of the time span represented in the book than the bi-polar nature of the prophet himself.  So, in chapter 40 we are moving from “First” Isaiah into “Second” Isaiah.  First Isaiah was written when the nation of Israel was enjoying a brief time of relative peace and prosperity.  Things were going so well that many of the people and certainly most of the leaders thought that they were responsible for how well things were going.  They forgot Who got them there.  They forgot Whose they were.  They forgot that they were a grumbling bunch of whiners in the desert until they were made into the People of God, strong and good and hospitable.  The laws for treating the stranger in their midst were some of the most advanced in the world at that time.  The welcome they were to extend marked them as a unique people with an outward focus, more concerned about the wounds of the stranger than the comforts of the citizen.  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”   That was their identity, even if the words hadn’t been carved into stone.  Until the living got easier.  Until they began to settle into routines of comfort and prosperity.  And they began to worry about borders.  They worried about those who lived differently.  They worried about the very stranger their law told them to love. 

For forty chapters Isaiah has warned them, shouted at them, told them to straighten up.  But they didn’t listen.  And the worst came to be.  An enemy they thought was a friend came and swept them away.  Their precious Jerusalem was overrun, families killed or carted off, walls broken down, neighborhoods abandoned, wild animals roamed the streets keeping the few survivors running for their lives.  And they were tired.  They were afraid.  They began to despair, to weep for what they lost, to fear for what might be next.  And Isaiah changed his tune.  Sang them a different song.

God is faithful, he sang to them in their weariness.  God is stronger than the enemy you see, than the brokenness you harbor within.  God will bring you home.  Wait, he intoned.  Wait, he whispered.  Wait on the Lord.

Wait?  We hate to wait.  Fix it, fix it now.  Heal us, feed us, save us, comfort us, love us, now.  OK, God sings through Isaiah’s voice.  OK, wait.  Why wait?  We hate to ... I know, God interrupts.  I know, but that is because you don’t understand waiting.  This isn't the impatient, you've got better things to do tapping of the toe and drumming of the fingers.  That’s not waiting.  That’s a toddler’s tantrum.  No, wait, God says, by living.  Living every day in hope.  Living every moment with a vision of a day when the tears are gone and the fear is erased.  Hold that hope in front of you and lean into the vision.  Begin to walk as though you were already there.  As though you were brave enough to love.  As though you knew how to serve.  As though you were ready to extend a hand and lift up the fallen - not because it is a good thing, but because it is the only thing.  It is who you are, and who you are becoming.  We don’t wait, God says and Isaiah sings, by sitting still, but by running the race, putting one foot in front of the other.  Working to exhaustion and then doing even more.  We don’t wait on the ground, we wait by soaring on the wings of love and hope.  We wait by moving, by doing, by being.

But, you think, I’m not there yet.  Precisely.  

Wait for it.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Let It Rain

Oh my goodness, haven’t we been blessed by amazing weather these past few days?  I just wanted to sit outside and soak it up.  The dogs got more walks while La Donna was away for a few days, just because I wanted to be out in the sunshine and breezes.  I had to wear a jacket this morning!  The sky has been this wonderful shade - blue doesn’t do it justice.  Azure comes closer, cerulean.  Blue is just to common for the color that was surrounding us these past few days.  The few clouds that did appear yesterday, were wispy accents just drawing our attention to the deeper color of the sky around them.  Just glorious.

Even when it rained.  Yeah, ok, in this same period of time over which I am waxing eloquent of the wonder of the weather, we had some rain.  Here and there, drizzles and downpours, even thunderstorms whipped up all of a sudden, catching us unaware, reminding us that we aren’t in charge.  We don’t hold all the power in this created world of which we are a part.  And that’s a good thing.  More than that, that’s a God thing.

That’s part of the gift we’ve been given, we who lay claim to faith, we who seek to discover God in us and around us.  The gift is that when we encounter beauty we know who to thank.  We know who is hovering behind every wisp of cloud, who showers down in every drop of rain onto a parched ground needing sustenance.  And we are blessed by sunshine and rainstorms, in equal measure.  We are learning to rejoice in the up and the down, the laughter and the tears, in the love that breaks our hearts and fills us up all at the same time.

And just how do we learn this?  Because there are days... days when our grip is feeble and our confidence is shaken.  Where do we learn to trust in a community that lets us down more often than it has our back it seems?  What prerequisites do we need for this course, what is the workload, where is the syllabus, what books do we need to buy, what tools do we need for the labs?  What does it take?

Time.  Well, not just time.  Time and open eyes.  Time and a divine awareness.  Time and hope.  At least that’s what James tells us.  

James 5:7-11  Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.  9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!  10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  11 Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 

Poor James, forever the whipping boy of the whole New Testament, ignored more than Philemon, dissed worse than Revelation.  A Jewish text with a thin veneer of Christianity, some complained.  Dubious theology written by a dubious single name author, purporting to have a family relationship with Christ.  An epistle of straw Luther thundered from reformation era Germany, and too many others have amened since then.  Too much emphasis on works, they cry, too thin on Christ, they complain, too hard on the rich and the church, too simplistic and awfully obsessed with the tongue.  No, not that, but the use of the tongue to make words.  He’s really hard on words, on oaths and promises and curses and ... well ... words.

Watch your words, James says over and over, watch your words.  I wonder why he was so concerned about words?  Well, if he was the brother of Jesus as the old tradition has it, then he remembers words.  He remembers the words he spoke, perhaps, as the leader of the family when the eldest had wandered off.  How he stirred up the rest of them about what that elder brother was doing, the shame he was bringing on the family, the burden he was laying on them all when neighbors said with furrowed brow “So, what’s Jesus up to these days” which was always followed by a guffaw and a slow shake of the head.  They watched their mother carry that weight like a wound in the community.  So, maybe it was James who gathered them all together and said they needed to go and get him back, pull their elder brother off his high horse and drag him back home, take him to see a specialist who could deal with his growing messiah complex.  Yes, he declared, Jesus is crazy, he’s lost his mind, he said. 

So they trouped off and found him, preaching somewhere, doing that trick that looked like healing, but they were determined.  They sent in word.  Someone whispered the words in Jesus’ ear, your mother and your brothers are here.  They think you’re crazy.  They’ve come to take you home.  Jesus just smiled that smile, the one that was both sad and determined at the same time, the one that knew something no one else knew.  And he said “who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?” 

Like a sword through their souls, those words had to hurt.  They were judged, because they had judged.  They were cut off, cast out, turned away, because they spoke before the listened, because they decided before they heard.  I don’t think James ever forgot that lesson.

So, no wonder when the resurrected Lord finally went home and said to his little brother, I need you, he listened.  He got up and started a movement that became a church, and hoped to hold on to the idea that we could listen before we judged.  We could welcome before we turned our backs.  We could wait and see what God was doing in our midst before deciding who was worthy of acceptance and who wasn’t.  No wonder he was so concerned about words, he had put his own foot in his own mouth and still couldn’t get the taste of shoe leather off his tongue.  So, he warned.

And then sums up his whole work by saying be patient.  Look beyond the moment, look to what God is working our among us.  Look to the hope and not to the frustration.  Look to the harvest and not to the bare field that is before you.  Look beyond the weeds, and the crooked rows and long hard summer and the back breaking labor, and the rain that doesn’t come or comes too much or at the wrong time, and the pests that want to damage, look beyond it all and see the fruit.  A ripe juicy watermelon, grown from the vine you tended, the roots you planted, the branches you fed and watered, and there it is.  Wait and see. Let it rain.

And hold on.  That’s the last couple of verses, hold on.  Hold on to faith, hold on to hope, no matter what else is going on, no matter how far away it seems, hold on.  No matter how much it hurts.  Either James never actually read the book of Job when he talks about Job’s patience, or he means something different than what we usually mean.  Job whined and complained and argued and was convinced that God has messed this up something awful.  And if he could just get God’s attention for a moment, then it would all be straightened out.  Not the calm, accepting demeanor we usually associate with the idea of patience.

Though he did whine and complain, though he did want his day in the divine court (which I think he later regretted), what Job did do was hold on.  Hold on to God, hold on to faith, hold on to a presence he wanted more than he wanted healing from all his hurts.  That’s what James is commending.

Hold on.  And the middle bit?  The Judge standing at the door?  Is that the usual scare tactics, Jesus is watching you” kind of thing?  I don’t think so.  I think he means that Jesus is close enough for you to hand over your need to judge, your need to condemn, your need to cast out and close doors.  Just hand it over.  He’s standing right there.  He’ll take care of that.  You just love.  That’s all, just love.  And hold on. In the sunshine and in the rain.  Just hold on.  And love.  Let it rain.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wait For It

Well, this is awkward.  This doesn’t happen very often, or maybe never.  So, now I’m not 100% sure I know how to proceed.  Hmmm.  

Well, here is the dilemma, I’m preaching at the 11am Genesis service, but my associate Chris is preaching at the 9am Heartbeat service.  OK, that’s not the problem.  This is, what you are reading right now.  The Late Night Bible Study that is done at all hours of the day (No, didn’t just change the title, the acronym would be unwieldy - LNBSTIDAAHOTD).  We are using different scriptures, and preaching different sermons, with different themes and different intents and hoping for different outcomes.  

But then that isn’t quite true either.  He’s using a different scripture, I’m using a different ... um ... idea.  I’m not focusing on a text, per se.  I know, don’t pass on that word to my students.  I always harp on preachers that you need to use a text every time you preach.  And I don’t have one.  Not really.  Well, I have a bunch actually.  Which is even worse, usually.  I dislike those sermons that are essentially a survey of the bible, verses from here and there and everywhere.  Where’s the focus?  Where’s the point?  Where is this going?

OK, first of all it is Pentecost.  And even though Pentecost isn’t the big cultural holiday that Easter and Christmas are, it is still important.  And maybe it is a good thing that it hasn’t been coopted by merchandising.  (After all what would you sell?  Outdoor Grills?  “Whip up your own tongues of fire!”  Ceiling fans? “You want to see a rush of mighty wind - set this little baby on Hurricane Force!”  No, sorry, can’t see it taking off.  (Snicker)) Because then this can be our event to interpret and to celebrate.  The problem is we have two stories of the sending of the Spirit.  We looked at one last week: " John 20:33 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”  That’s the quiet version.

Then we have the loud one, the fire and smoke one, the industrial light and magic one: Acts 2:2-4  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 

Whoosh, Pentecost.  Over the years I have done all sorts of things to help us relive the experience, my favorites include kites and streamers in one church and a boatload of fans and confetti in another, that was a hoot.  The fire ones always go wrong, just sayin’.  But lately I’ve focused on something other than the experience of Pentecost.  And this time - caught up in our Fruit of the Spirit theme - it was the waiting that captured my attention.

We turn now to the next phase of the hierarchy of manifestations of the Spirit we call the Fruit of the Spirit.  Well, we didn’t call it that, St. Paul did, so I guess we gotta go with it.  The inner circle, or beginning phase are the first three we have muddled through already – love, joy and peace.  These three form the trinity, or the beginning experience of the Spirit - it begins with love, of course, the love of God, love from God, love of one another, even love of self.  Which then turns to joy when our focus becomes something beyond ourselves.  Peace then becomes the main modus operandi of those who are walking with the Spirit, those who are living out love, outwardly directed, poured out on the other, losing the sense of self in the process.

From this beginning we then reach out to encounter a world which may or may not want to receive what we bring, may or may not be motivate by the fruit of the Spirit, the presence of God.  And we begin in the most logical place: Patience.

The old word was “long-suffering.”  A more modern take is endurance.  It is the realization that this is for the long haul.  That we are running a marathon with Christ, not a sprint.  The process of transformation, of sanctification, of being made into a disciple of Jesus is a life long process.  It won’t happen over night, and it won’t happen in a straight line.  We go forward and feel like we are making progress and then we will fall back, lose ground and wonder if we are even on the path anymore.  That’s how it is with us.  With us fallible human beings, with us short sighted, near sighted, blind even at times, followers of the light that is Jesus the Christ.  It is the best we can hope for.  And, believe it or not, that is pretty great.

I know, it seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?  If it takes so long, it must be because we aren’t getting the help we need.  If we go forward and then fall back it must be because we aren’t good enough, or trying hard enough, or committed enough, or confident enough, or ... Just breathe for a moment, will ya?  Just breathe.

Patience.  Like most things for most of us, it has to start within.  No, wait, that’s not right.  I know lots of people (like me, for heaven’s sake) who can be infinitely more patient with someone else than they can be with themselves.  Pretty much a universal, really.  Don’t you think?

I remember teaching Rhys how to ride a bike.  We got on and I ran along beside and then I let go and almost immediately he fell over.  His first words were “I’ll never learn to ride a bike!”  One try, one go, one slow tumble into the grass and he thought he would never get it.  Keep trying, I urged, be patient.  Another try, another hundred tries - I don’t remember how many it took, but I was going to keep at it and after a while he was too.  Then one time, he wobbled but didn’t fall.  He picked up speed and the grin broke out on his little face and I knew he had it.  And he rode.  Until he hit the parked car.  But it didn’t bother him all that much because he knew he would get it, and he did.  

So, how we get it then?  This patience thing, I mean.  How does it come into our lives?  How does it help us give ourselves and others a break.  You know the prayer “Lord, give me patience ...Now!”

How do we get patience?  We wait for it.  What, what?  We need to be patient while waiting for patience?  Is this a Zen thing now?  

In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus tells them to wait.  Wait for the Spirit.  Wait for the power.  And then it came and everything changed.  But what were they really waiting for?  What is this power that comes, this Spirit of wind and fire, this sound and this fury?

They weren’t really waiting for power.  I know that is what it says.  But they weren’t.  They were waiting for wisdom.  They were waiting for understanding.  For relationship.  For the courage to step out and live what He had implanted in them, to follow the light that they see before them, in the faces of those who Jesus loves.  They were waiting for the impetus to get up and get out.  For a change to practice their patience with the beloved of God.

Which is the real bit of wisdom I want to impart during this Pentecost series on patience: It is a whole lot easier to be patient with those you love.

So, when you love like Jesus, you can wait for it.  It?  Grace, power, presence, hope, transformation, acceptance, love.  It is there, it is coming.  Wait for it.