By Bailey Brawner | Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia
What does it mean to wait for this new thing?
Where can we find life in waiting?
How is our time of waiting still active and alive?
As a third-year seminarian who plans to serve a church post-graduation, I am fully immersed in a season of waiting. My future remains largely up in the air, and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. In meeting with my spiritual director recently, we began talking about this period of waiting…and what I was doing in the midst of it.
“Isn’t waiting enough?” I thought.
No, it is not – because waiting is an active thing. We don’t just sit and twiddle our thumbs when something is in our future. We prepare. We clean up and set the table and send out invitations. We find strength and hope and inspiration.
For us as Christians, we are entering into this holy season of Advent, a season of waiting for the Christ. In preparing for the birth of Christ, how is our time waiting active and alive?
As United Methodists, we are in another season of waiting, as our denomination discerns their stance on human sexuality. While the Commission on a Way Forward gathers together in prayer, storytelling, and deep conversation, many of us find ourselves on the outside looking in, wondering what is next for The United Methodist Church.
In my context, this wondering is happening in seminary, at Boston University School of Theology. I often find myself engaged in conversations with colleagues, both in and out of the classroom. We read articles, share sacred stories, and pray together. We are waiting, and right now, we do that by watching.
A friend of mine shared with me one of the reasons she loves watching sunrises. “They always happen,” she said, “but we always watch the process of them coming into being”. This waiting through watching is active, as we stare at the sky for signs of change and hope, trying to read the signs.
Friends, as we wait for answers in the year or two ahead, let us remember to watch. Let us watch, with our limited communication, trying to read the signs. Let us watch, with our frustrations, our joy, our tears, our anxieties, our celebration. Let us watch, knowing that the love of Christ is coming soon.
Bailey Brawner is a member of Saint John UMC in Anchorage, Alaska and is working as a social media coordinator at Boston University School of Theology. Brawner is working towards becoming an elder in The United Methodist Church.