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Showing posts from December, 2012

Courage to Wait

Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36

A prayer from Christian Aid, written for Advent, begins, ‘God of the waiting,
give us courage to wait.’

During the week I run a post office, and people are not very good at waiting. One day four big heavy bags of coins were delivered. By the time I’d taken delivery of them and then manhandled them into the coin safe the queue was getting restless. Not long after, but when I was safely out of the post office, a disgruntled customer snapped off the ‘Please wait here!’ sign. Somebody wrote a note saying they had queued for twenty minutes - surely an exaggeration. But then one of our trustees had been to the Co-op Bank where she was kept waiting for 25 minutes. And there was a clock in the branch, on that occasion, to prove it. We have to do a lot of waiting, don’t we?

‘God of the waiting, give us courage to wait.’ But why should we need courage? Wouldn’t patience be a more relevant gift? What exactly are we afraid of?

Two Feisty Women and What They Show Us About The Way of Jesus

Ruth 3.1-5, 4.13-17, 1 Kings 17.8-16, Hebrews 9.24-28

Here are two Old Testament readings in the lectionary - a hard one and an easier one. The hard one comes from the story of Ruth, and it’s a hard reading to talk about because it is so alien to our understanding of what women should aspire to in their lives.

Ruth was an immigrant, and worse still she was the daughter-in-law of an elder widow, Naomi, whom she had to try to support. Purely because of her own unselfishness and loyalty to Naomi, whom she could just as easily have abandoned and gone back to her own family, she found herself stuck at the bottom of the economic pile and the future didn’t look too bright for her.

But Naomi had a cunning plan. Strictly speaking, the head of her husband’s clan - Boaz - had a duty to take care of them both. Clearly this wasn’t happening, otherwise Ruth wouldn’t have been going out scrounging for barley - picking up the gleaners left behind by the reapers in the field. But by God’s providence Rut…