December 12, 2013

Patience with time

By Sam Carlson, a sophomore nursing major from Elkhart, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: James 5:7-10 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

In many Western cultures, most focus is placed on the future.
Steps are made toward the future: in science, religion, politics.
You face the future, with the past behind you.
The future is a gust of wind
rushing toward you to become present –
it rolls up and over your shoulders, and suddenly it’s gone.

In the Eastern hemisphere, much more focus is placed on history.
The future acts as wind at your back,
while history is in your line of vision.
You face the past because it’s far more valuable than the future.
You’re able to learn much more from the past.

There is a lot to learn from these interpretations of time.
We’re often looking toward the future without recognizing the past.
In this season of pandemonium and perpetual to-do lists,
let us change the way we look at time.

Let us be patient, and turn away from what the future holds.

Guardian of the seasons,
keeper of every time,
tune us to your rhythms
that we may know
the occasion for stillness
and the moment for action.

- #156 in the “Sing the Journey” songbook

SCRIPTURE: James 5:7-10 (NRSV)

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

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Comments (11)

  1. Thank you, Sam, for the reminder of how different cultures view time, future and history. Wonderful advent messaging for today.

    Robin December 12, 2013 |
  2. This is so true; your message is very good. I want to try and remember and think about these words in my everyday life. Thanks for your wise words!

    Liz Lehman December 12, 2013 |
  3. Sam, your devotion reminded me of the times in my life when time wasn’t so important as it is now. When I was in South America, I found freedom from time and became more relationship-oriented. Thanks for reminding me off that!

    Quinn December 12, 2013 |
  4. Now that is eloquent! Thank you.

    Edgar Stoesz December 12, 2013 |
  5. The third aspect of time is in the scripture: the present moment where patience resides.

    jim stasheff December 12, 2013 |
  6. Right on! Having lived in Java, Indonesia, for nine years, I observed that culture’s respect for time and patience. Our western way is not the only, and certainly not a superior “way”! Your assertion that Advent is a time for patience and waiting surely rings true. Thanks for this posting. Blessings on you and yours during this holy season of waiting.

    Shirlee K. Yoder December 12, 2013 |
  7. Thank you for sharing a thoughtful perspective. Slow down. Look back. Remember. Understand. Good Wishes.

    Warren December 12, 2013 |
  8. Excellent observation and perspective!

    Patty Collins December 12, 2013 |
  9. This resonates with what we heard our First Nations speaker share at Central Plains Mennonite Conference annual meeting last June. It’s important to know where you come from, what shapes who you are today.

    Elaine Kauffman December 12, 2013 |
  10. Amen! Thank you for this point of view.

    Mike Underhill December 12, 2013 |
  11. A message of wisdom. Thank you!

    Yelena December 12, 2013 |