Friday of Lent 2, March 22, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
We continue today with our meditations over unfaithfulness defined as pride, hypocrisy, and impatience, focusing on our impatience:
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness:
the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.
In our fast-paced modern life, impatience is epidemic. We want faster internet speed, faster cars, faster phones and computers (at least according to the advertisements). The way of our society is to desire to be in the fastest check-out lane in the grocery store and to hope to not get caught in rush hour traffic or someone driving slower than we think they should. The world tells us that we have much to do and too little time in which to do it. One way of telling the beginning of the biblical story is that Adam and Eve may have been a bit impatient in their wanting to know how to tell good from evil and they didn’t wait for God to give them this knowledge in God’s timing (and there may have been a bit of pride involved since they wanted to know how to tell good from evil on their own, independent from God). We continue with this impulse toward impatience—wanting things done according to our timing.
Yet God’s faithfulness is characterized by patience (which is often translated as long-suffering or forbearance). From Psalm 103:8 we are reminded that “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness” (BCP 103, see also Psalms 50, 78, 86, 103, and 145). God is patient with us as individuals and as a species. Jesus was patient with his disciples who sometimes seemed to be slow in understanding. He continued to patiently teach them when they had difficulties understanding what he needed them to know (see Luke 24:13-31).
As a fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit, the ability to become patient is cultivated in us (Galatians 5:22-23). Our society and our life together give us ample opportunities to reflect God’s patient character. Slowing down in order to offer ourselves and others time to think, to move at their own pace, to become who God is calling us to be, and to wait for God’s timing is hard work. The Holy Spirit works with us as we learn to reflect God’s faithfulness in living patiently with each other, but it’s often a daily struggle to live into this part of our baptismal life. Yet, it is in living patiently with each other that we demonstrate respect and dignity.
What does impatience look and feel like in your life and in the life of your worshiping community?
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
(Prayers for use by a Sick Person: In the Morning, BCP 461)