Vol 1:42 Rhythms of Patience – Waiting for Healing and Restoration

Continuing Advent reflections (3 of 4) – As the people of God in the world, we are called to demonstrate a different way of being human as we participate with God in God’s mission of redeeming humanity and creation. Throughout Advent, I will be exploring what it means for us to demonstrate a different rhythm of being the people of God in relation to rhythms of our culture.

John the Baptist knew what his mission was, even when he was imprisoned (cf. Matthew 11: 2ff), but he was getting impatient, unsure if indeed Jesus was the coming one, the Messiah – he was not seeing the fruit of God’s mission of healing and restoration to Israel. As God’s people, being involved in God’s mission – at least we hope we are, we wonder like John as well – is all that we are doing making a difference? Is God’s mission of redemption and healing and restoration transforming the world in which we live? We get impatient as well – where is all the healing and restoration?

We tend to look at the grand sweep of things and in our trying to be God’s missional people, we miss seeing life being transformed all around us. But what does Jesus say to John’s disciples, what is the Spirit saying to us? Jesus’ response is one of asking whether they have eyes and ears that see and hear what God is up to in the world. Jesus in essence is asking, “are you noticing the mustard seed-sized things going on? Though, in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus does not present the parable of the mustard seed until chapter 13, we are privy to this parable in which Jesus links God’s reign with the mustard seed – remember the reign of God is like a mustard seed, small, unnoticeable, unless you know where it has been planted – but it is growing, always growing – until it is revealed to be a plant that birds nest in and others notice.

In reflecting on Jesus’ response to John’s disciples, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” I cannot help but wonder whether we take the time to tell stories of the presence of God’s reign active all around us, stories of God’s life-giving rhythms being manifested in contrast to the life-sapping rhythms of our culture? We get so busy, so into our own agendas, so caught up in the commerce of the season, of life, that life and ministry becomes another doing, rather than noticing that God is active in mustard seed-sized happenings all around us. If we take the time to hear and see – we will begin to notice some pretty amazing things – in fact we will begin to see that God’s mission is being carried out everywhere.

I don’t know about you, but patiently, daily, attuning my eyes and ears to notice what God is up to, to seeing God working in the small things gives me hope, changes my sighs of impatient waiting and wondering into encouragement so that I do not tire in doing good, gives me resolve to continually submit myself to participate in what God is doing in making all things whole – because God is in fact doing this.

What are you seeing and hearing?

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