Last Sunday I was preaching at the Chapel Royal in London. I had composed my sermon quite some time beforehand as I always do. The thrust of my sermon was Patience and Waiting on God. In the times in which we currently find ourselves it seemed to have been somewhat apposite. The expression of waiting on God is often found in the Bible and often amidst the Psalms; it is an attribute of true wisdom. St Benedict (whose spirit and writings have influenced me greatly) identifies four characteristics in a patient Christian life. They are the spirit of endurance, a quiet mind, true joy and expectation.
Patience is borne of faith and strong hearts that is able to face up to whatever happens in life. It was from such a deep faith that Lady Julian of Norwich was able to pray her well known words, “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well and all shall be well.” I wonder if we took those words as our personal mantra what the effect on our happiness would be? Patience for the Christian requires a discipline of mind, studying our holy writings, daily prayer and devotional reading; it requires a waiting upon God.
In these current times there is much waiting to be done. We wait for the turning of a tide, for vaccines to be discovered by the most dedicated men and women of science. We wait for information from Government on how to react and to prepare ourselves in the face of the virus. There is waiting to be done for those who have had to stay at home and remove themselves from the normal society in which they would have otherwise found companionship and friendship. There is waiting to be done by businesses and shops as they close and await a time to reopen.
During this waiting we do our best to reach out and support those who feel vulnerable, frightened and anxious. During our waiting we must all try to be positive and resist spiralling into patterns of thinking that are destructive and deeply damaging to the human mind and spirit. As the Church we must do all we can to care as Jesus taught us.
During our waiting though we must, as Christians, make sure that we attend to our spiritual lives and we must never ever lose sight of the Christian hope that we have been baptised into. This is the hope that we find the other side of Lent and it is nothing other than the great gift of Easter. Easter, that gives us the confidence to put our lives into the hand of God; that gives us the confidence in God’s ultimate triumph over all things; that gives us confidence in God’s goodness that he wishes to share with us; that gives us confidence to trust in the love that he has for each and every one of us. This Easter Day faith is something that absolutely nothing can ever shake – not even a global pandemic. As St Paul reminds us in Romans chapter 8 verse 39, “There is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Alleluia, Alleluia Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia
Keep the Faith