The Pressures of Waiting Patiently
Delivered By
From Pastor Lee
Delivered On
May 12, 2023
The Pressures of Waiting Patiently

 One thing I really didn’t like when I was growing up was the idea of waiting. Now that I have grown up, I must admit I have not quite grown out of it. I remember having to wait as I anticipated something I really was looking forward to. It seemed like time went by so slowly as my excitement would grow. Then there were the expected “bad” experiences I anticipated with dread and anxiety. You too probably remember waiting for both, expectant good and bad experiences, or things to come. Now is one of those times of expectancy we are experiencing together within the church family. As we wait for General Conference 2024, I think many of us are experiencing times of anxiety, fear, confusion doubt, and mistrust. For those who don’t know or need reminding if you do know, General Conference is the “Congress” of United Methodism. Like Congress, the General Conference is a representative body and has the responsibility of producing legislation. The General Conference meets every four years (the exception was during the Covid Pandemic). It is from the General Conference that we have our Book of Discipline (our Church law that determines how we govern). The fearful anticipation many are experiencing comes from the fact that no one really knows the delegate makeup of the 2024 General Conference. In other words, will the majority vote from an orthodox (conservative) position or a progressive (liberal) position? In addition to that unknown, there are so many articles and blogs out there for one to read that it can cause one’s head to spin as to which direction the church is moving towards. The last time (2016) the General Conference met in person the outcome was a Book of Discipline that was orthodox (conservative). This was a shock to many progressives as they had thought it would be opposite from the results. As the next General Conference approaches the restless anticipation seems to have rippled throughout the denomination and may lead one to believe there is nothing we can do to deal with our individual struggle of emotional pain and discomfort as we wait. Even though there is so much beyond our control and knowing when it comes to General Conference 2024, I do know we should not lose our focus on what, or should I say, who is most important, JESUS. Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins, found in Matthew 25:1-13, is about waiting. From Jesus’ parable we understand there are two ways to wait: passive waiting as we realize there are things beyond our control and active waiting in which we seek to do something in anticipation or even to influence the outcome. Someone once said, “that though waiting is subjective it should have an objective focus.” I pray that our focus is Jesus and being faithful to him and God’s word as we move through the coming months. Please know that even though I don’t know the future or have a complete understanding of all that is unfolding throughout the Church, I am available to talk with anyone who has questions or concerns. I do know the one thing we can all do is continue to pray for the Church and for our Grace Family. I continue to see and experience the love of God in and through you, and for that I am so thankful to you and to God.

Love, Pastor Lee