Well, I did it again. I put on the tea kettle, got my tea bag ready, and waited. But, I got impatient and I watched the kettle, and it wasn’t boiling. I waited a few more seconds, then I opened up the lid, and still, it wasn’t boiling. You know what they say...a watched pot doesn’t boil...but still I had to try to hurry it along.
Marilyn McEntyre, in her book Word by Word, reminds us of how ridiculous it is to force processes that need to take their natural course. “Pregnancy will take the months it requires. Children will learn to walk when they’re ready. Love follows no one’s calendar. Collective consciousness will reach critical mass. Political will comes to a tipping point. They are not ours to control. Things emerge.” Emerge comes from the Latin word mergere meaning “to dip,” suggesting the return of something that has dipped out of sight. It will come forth in due time.
We are in the middle of the season of Lent, when we begin to get anxious, wanting to hurry Lent along. We get tired of sacrifice. We long for chocolate or soda or netflix or eating out or whatever else we gave up. We grow weary of the somber tone of Lenten hymns. We are not looking forward to the crucifixion and wonder if we can just by-pass Jesus’ death and celebrate the resurrection.
Marilyn McEntyre shares the story of when her husband was troubled by matters he could not resolve, he said to God, “This would be a good time for you to send me a sign.” It wasn’t necessarily an answer he needed so much as a little wave of reassurance from God that all would be well. As soon as he gave shape to the request, he saw, offshore, a gray whale slowly breaching. It rose straight up, and it hovered there longer than seemed possible. Then it slowly sank and resumed its leisurely swim further out to sea. What we need is just under the surface, I was--and am--reminded. If we allow it, it will emerge.”
We are still in Lent. It is not yet time, but we know that the time will come--soon and very soon, when we will hear these words of good news:
When the women went to the tomb, they saw that the stone had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe...he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here...But go tell his disciples…” (selected verses from Mark 16)
When we can allow things their time to emerge, then we can be observant rather than anxious.
We can be assured that what we need is just under the surface, and it will emerge when the time is right, and all shall be well.
We can let Lent take its time, trusting that when things are ready, Jesus will emerge, bringing new life to us all.
In good time--in God’s time--Lent will be over and we will celebrate the joy of Easter.
Then, we will no longer need to hold our tongues; but we can open wide our mouths and sing with loud praises, “Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed!”