Colossians 1:11-12 (NRSV)
11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
My toddler daughter received a gift that many parents dread: a toy drum filled with cymbals, maracas, and a tambourine. As the other parents smiled and chuckled knowingly about the chaos that would ensue, my Aunt Margie wisely told me, “You’ll find the noise won’t annoy you if you join in the parade!” It was true. Aunt Margie knew that the noise only becomes irritating when it interrupts any other intentions of thinking, speaking or listening. I’ve found that her wisdom has stayed with me, long after my children outgrew those noisy toys.
Today our Lenten discipline is patience. Our patience is most tested when life doesn’t go as we plan, isn’t it? The world often pulls us in all directions, not giving us time to handle one issue before another one takes precedent. Something or someone interrupts our thoughts, our goals, our dreams or our expectations, and we become irritated and impatient. And usually the one who receives our impatient response is the innocent one with bad timing.
How might we keep our patience when the noise and the needs are coming from all directions? How might we keep our patience when our own plans are interrupted or delayed?
Let’s imagine we are blissfully (or perhaps, anxiously) driving on the road of life, heading to our desired destination. But up ahead an unexpected parade is passing, and traffic has come to a standstill. We can sit in our car in the middle of the traffic jam, annoyed by the noisy drums, impatient and frustrated by the delay in our plans. But we could also leave our car behind, postpone our destination, and join the parade. It is then we discover that God is moving; God is the One leading this parade of life and wants us to join in. And those who are marching, those who are cheering from the side of the road, and even those who are noisily beating the drums become special blessings in our lives, not the targets of our angry impatience.
Today let’s be ready to join the parade.
Our symbol today is a musical note (or anything you may have to remind you of a noisy parade). May it remind us that our interruptions may become holy interruptions. That our plans may not be God’s plans. That our patience flourishes if we are attentive to the interruption before us, if we see the interruption as an invitation to the parade, and if we joyfully join in the march behind the One who is leading all of us, all the way, with “all of the saints in the light.”
Thank you for your patience with me. Today I ask your help with my patience. Help me to remember that I am not the leader of this parade. Help me to remember that every interruption, every delay, and every detour can be sacred and holy, as long as you are with me. Guide my words and actions, so that others may know of your loving patience through my own. Amen.