For many, Lent is a time of preparation, which includes both denial and transformation. Looking less like the sinner and looking more like the saint.
But for me, preparation seems almost exclusively tied up in the call process. Hearing from bishops and churches, being assigned to a region and then given the freedom to interview, and wondering what it is that God has in store for Michelle and I all requires an attentiveness of preparation.
Yet, yesterday a good friend stopped me in my tracks with a great question: "What does waiting look like for you?"
I was dumbfounded.
This shocked me because it helped to congeal in my mind the difference between waiting and preparation. Waiting can look like anything. Waiting doesn't require anything of you. While you wait, you can do pretty much whatever you want (like that guy in the dentist's lounge who doesn't turn the sound off while he's playing Candy Crush).
Preparation, however, is an attentive waiting. Preparation is a wait pregnant with purpose.
Rather than waste time on silly apps or however it is that we fill our time with anything but purpose, what if waited we meaning? What if we prepared? Rather than biding my time until God calls me to a congregation, why don't I continue to pursue a healthier lifestyle? Perhaps I should continue to read up not only on my thesis or my science-fiction guilty pleasures, but on how to help congregations transition to 21st century ministry. Practice preaching. Get acquainted with my synod. Pray for the people to whom God will call me. Foster healthy relationships with my fellow students here so that we might have better friendships as colleagues in ministry. Perhaps I should love justice and mercy more than the idea of a paycheck and housing stability.
This e-journal blog is part of that process for me. I want to communicate to my congregation, whoever and wherever that might be, not only a vision for our life together, but the honest reality that I struggle, and that I want to be better. I need accountability. I need good people to ask great questions about waiting, because as Christians, we wait for the Lord. This is not only about Lent, but about our everyday life. We are anticipating the return of the Creator to creation, to fully establish God's Kingdom here on earth.
Until then, we should not wait without purpose. We should prepare. And to prepare for the King, we should work to make this world look more like Christ's kingdom.
"May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Help us to prepare,
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.