Waiting can be so very hard. Allowing ourselves to be present in what is going on around us and not exhaustively focus on what "may be" takes some effort for many of us. When something is about to happen, when a decision is being awaited, angst, sadness, anger, erratic attention all can plague us.
Joshua has successfully guided the people he is leading to cross the Jordan River in today's Hebrew Testament reading. They observe the holy day and wait. They are waiting for the time to strike their adversaries to continue in their conquest of the land God promised to their ancestors. Joshua is scouting and comes upon a soldier of God, a clear sign that their waiting is coming to an end.
Jesus has been waiting for the betrayal that he has known was coming, had predicted was coming. In our Gospel from Matthew today we have the beginning of the end story, the beginning of the Passion narrative. Matthew has described in the 25 preceding chapters Jesus' journey to this point: a waiting-of-a-kind until the time was right for his own conquest.
Being distracted is a natural part of our existence when we are waiting for something big to happen: a decision to be made that effects our life's journey or the results from a medical examination are two examples of angst producing waits. Notice that in both the Joshua account and in Matthew's Gospel, not only did those folks involved keep active during their waiting period, but they worshipped, celebrated and gave thanks to God, centering their existence around prayer. Prayer won't take away all those feelings that can come upon us in times of anxious waiting, but prayer can help us deal with those feelings appropriately. Those feelings help us know that we are alive.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.