View the December Newsletter here.
Check out "Clayride," a claymation history of the United Methodist Church set to a folksy tune!
“Winding up Waiting”
by Rev. Rick Pittenger
Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkak 2:2-4
Advent… meaning… arrival… to come to… or waiting… Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Waiting is something our society doesn’t do very well. I don’t do it very well. We’ve all been programmed to get “it” now; whatever “it” is. It’s true in all areas of our lives. "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? NOW!" A chant we heard again and again in the 60’s. Merchants are trying to think up new ways for us to feel like we “need” everything we "want" so they advertise.
No, we’re not very good at that, waiting. I’m not very good at waiting.
Last Sunday afternoon, I wound our two wind-up clocks in our home. A weekly ritual I do manually and religiously. If I don’t wind them, they don’t “tick talk” to me throughout the night and through the days. Constant, steady, precise ticking at their own pace; yet on occasion they seem to come in sync. Our wall clock chimes a lot slower than our mantle clock. In fact there are some times when midnight approaches and the wall clock starts its regal, slow, paced, authority laden chimes. Only to be passed by the next moment by the other more energetic mantle clock that seems almost in a hurry to toll the time that moves on through the darkness by passing the other leaving it behind.
The mantle clock has much sentimental attachment to our family. As I’ve shared before this is a mantel clock that my maternal grandfather had on his piano I think. (One of literally hundreds chiming in and throughout his home and garage.) Another grandchild must have received the one with the ¼ hour chimes of West Minster or whatever the easily recognizable chimes ring to. (It’d probably keep me awake anyway.) The other clock is a relatively recent purchase from a thrift store; it didn’t work when I got it, but after a trip to the Clock Dr. in Sioux Falls, it keeps pretty good time. It is uniquely its own as well as it chimes about five minutes prior to its hands reaching the hour and half hour. It’s also kind of sentimental in its own right as if I forget to wind it… it takes a few times of me moving the hands around a day or so to get it back into sync to the right hour to match the right arms of the clock to the time.
I’ve got a few minutes to meditate while I wind each clock… the slow and steady wall clock from the thrift store takes about 6 half turns to fully wind it, while the other mantel clock is an exhaustive 20-22 half turns to be fully wound.
Each of us is like those two clocks; some of us wind down faster than others; some of us take more encouragement to get us going. So it is in the life of church members and family members.
Thanksgiving is upon us, by the time you read this (perhaps) you will have had your Thanksgiving dinner with family, friends or all alone. My wife has been rushing around the house, cleaning, picking up (mostly after me); preparing our home for our children’s return. I’ve wound the clocks; vacuumed a bit; cleaned the bathrooms. She has this idea that the kids will care if everything’s just right; she’s probably right. They’re not just our children anymore; they're adults now; one has a spouse, the other two significant others.
This season of Advent is about preparing too. However, just like those two clocks in our home; once wound and they're off to document the words, the laughter, and the tears of the season. Ready or not; those memories will come and go. The next time I wind those clocks will be sad in one sense; for our children will have come and gone for yet another time. Still, I/we won’t stop living; the clock of life and faith will keep ticking. We’ll go on perpetually until another holiday, or celebration. So, enjoy your family and friends this season of waiting, anticipating and living all that will be! Until Sunday when I see you in worship or out and about as together we witness our faith on the move.
Blessings, grins and grace be yours,