Are you tired of waiting for either a vaccine or for COVID-19 to just go away? I am. Are you tired of waiting to be released from isolation? I am. We must not be tempted to throw caution to the wind. Don’t be tempted by the childhood rational that it's okay to do something because others are doing it.
Waiting takes a great amount of patience. A fisherman waits for the fish to bite, the farmer waits for the crops to be ready to harvest, an expectant parent waits for the baby to be born. Israel waited for centuries for their Messiah to come; they still wait. Christians continue to wait for the return of Jesus. Perhaps in our waiting there is more time to spend with the Lord. Remember the promise of Isaiah that “… those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” Read the rest of that reference in Isaiah 40.
The rest of the story in Isaiah 40 tells us that God does not grow tired or weary; He gives power to the tired and weary, and he renews the strength of those who have hope in Him (those who wait KJV & RSV). So what is one to do with this renewed strength? Most of us have used it to stay active in our waiting. For some of us this has meant keeping ourselves healthy, but for others it has meant keeping our families healthy. As a congregation, we are grateful to all who have helped to keep our church healthy. We are also grateful to God for the strength to get beyond our impatience and weariness.
But before St. Andrew’s UMC began the wait imposed by COVID-19, it had begun a six month wait for a new senior pastor. The church did not wait passively but actively. The work of ministry and mission continued. Plans were made for a productive year. The virus came and plans changed, but ministry continued. We discovered ZOOM. Church leaders found a way to minister virtually with children, youth and adults. Sunday School classes continued and worship services were live streamed. God provided.
While waiting for new pastoral leadership we learned that we would be sent not one but two senior pastors. A double blessing! The waiting has been productive. The welcoming of Gary and Jayne Rideout will be different, but it will be sincere. The wait will be over on July 1 as Jayne and Gary become the pastors of St. Andrew’s UMC.