There is a heightened degree of energy and impatience that is noticeable. More and more things re-open following this past year of being restricted and confined due to the pandemic. People are eager to get out, travel to see loved ones, and reconnect physically, instead of even one more virtual conversation. Trips are being planned and parties scheduled, if not right now, not long in the future.
We’re not yet done with this virus, but we are close – we just have to hold on a bit longer. After all that we have been through, it is difficult to wait even a little more, especially when what we are waiting for is something we are excited to experience.
Such is the case for those of us who claim the name of Christ-follower. In this season of the year, we are reminded that the risen Christ, after spending some 40 days with his followers, left them and ascended once again into heaven with the promise that he would return.
But Christ has not yet returned. So now we find ourselves waiting in this in-between time. But the good news is that when Christ returned to heaven, though he withdrew his physical presence from our sight, he didn’t stop being with us. Instead, he promised to be with us even to the end of the world. And that changes everything – including our waiting.
For those of us who see all of life through the lens of faith, this time of waiting is active and not passive. We have a mission and important kingdom-building work to accomplish in the name of the one who commissioned us. This means that our focus is to live as Christ showed us – loving and connecting with others even as we stay connected to God.
Waiting for the return of Christ also means we will continue to live between the world of “already” and the world of “not yet.” Maybe this tension is the reason we have a holy impatience, a restlessness, as we live. We can see the beauty of what God can make possible, as in a recent sunset, but God’s glory is not fully here yet. Even so, we see enough of “what might be” to encourage us to engage at making our little portion of earth look a little more like heaven until Christ returns to accomplish it
So in the meantime, we will continue to work, even while we wait. And like those first followers, we will do so with joy and thanksgiving. May it be so for you too, this day and always!
Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.