Pastors' Blog

March 2021

Hurry Up and Wait

“Hurry up and wait!” Now that’s a saying I’ve heard many times - in fact, I’m betting most of us have heard it many times. It’s a favorite at certain job sites. Times when you have to look busy but there’s not a lot of work to be busy with. You’re stuck in waiting mode, but you can’t take a break either. When you know there will be something to do, but right now there’s not a lot to do, so you have to look like you have something to do, until you will indeed have something to do: that is the very essence of ‘hurry up and wait.’ 

As Spring arrives, I very much find myself in a ‘hurry up and wait’ mood. The weather’s nice, but it’s not quite that nice yet. (As every native Wisconsinite knows, we’ve got at least two weeks of dismal, drizzly rain to look forward to at some point here). I’m in a hurry to get out, to mow the lawn, to see dandelions, to watch baseball - but I still have to wait.

As the vaccine arrives, the country finds itself very much in a ‘hurry up and wait’ mood.   This is a very simple matter of basic observation. People want to get out, they want to go to sports games, they want to plan a wedding for hundreds of friends and family. Many others simply want to get out of the fear and anxiety Covid has placed on them. Our country, indeed the world, is very much in a hurry - but we still have to wait a little longer. 

Now in all these situations having to ‘hurry up and wait’ is a matter of annoyance. It builds frustration. And the truth is that it can be exactly the same for us Christians.

Soon it will be Holy Week, when we once again celebrate the great acts of Christ that won our salvation. We see His bitter sufferings and death, we listen with joy as the proclamation rings out, ‘He is risen!’ We know that by these things Jesus has won for us an eternity of blessings. But we don’t see them. We don’t see heaven, we shake hands with angels….yet. 

Oh, but we want to!

We want to be in perfection now, we want to stand in triumph and look down contemptuously at death’s (our death’s) beaten form. And the more we connect ourselves to God’s Word, ever brighter burns the fire of desire in our hearts to hold eternal life in our hands, to see our Jesus face to face. We are in a hurry!!! But we still have to wait. 

But it is all OK dear friends. 

Because for a Christian having to ‘hurry up and wait’ is not a source of frustration but a source of strength. God will bring us all the blessings he won for us on Calvary. But until he does it’s not like we have to stand around pretending to be busy. We have plenty of good things to do. To love one another, to learn ever anew the way of patience, to walk humbly with our God, to share the Word of life to a dying world. Yes, we have plenty of good things to do as we wait for Jesus. 

When it comes to Jesus, it is OK for a Christian to hurry up and wait.

No, it’s GOOD to hurry up and wait.

So this Holy week, let’s do just that.

Pastor Joshua Zarling

 



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Quiet Joy

What are you giving up for Lent this year? The practice can be useful. It can serve to remind us of the sacrifice that Jesus made—he gave up his life! Of course, the custom is entirely optional. One Christian may give something up; another may do nothing. Both can please God!

The heart of the Lenten season isn’t that we give up something, but that we give up someone. That someone is ourselves! Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:23-25 NIV 1984). You lose your life when you turn to Jesus as your Savior. Instead of trusting your own works or goodness, trust in Jesus!

The gospel is at the center of the Lenten season. Some mistakenly think that in Lent we focus on ourselves and our sins. While we do confess our sins, we still focus on the gospel, just with a different tone and mood. Giving up your life means that you focus on Jesus during Lent. Ultimately, looking to Jesus’ forgiveness will renew our faith, not giving something like coffee up for six weeks.

The Old Testament prophet Hosea put it this way, “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds” (6:1). During Lent, our focus remains on how God heals us. His law tears us up by reminding us that we don’t deserve anything from him. But the same God offers forgiveness to those who trust in him. Lenten renewal doesn’t come from what we give up, but from the Savior whose love renews us.

And a quick warning about Lent: It isn’t a time for “poor Jesus” thoughts: “Oh, look what he suffered!” The book of Hebrews tells us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2). Jesus knew what he was getting into when he came to earth. He considered it a joy to be your Savior! 

Yes, our sins cause us to grieve. But let us not miss the joy of this season. It is a quiet joy — the joy of forgiveness, new life, and renewed hope. Our spiritual well-being is based on the events we celebrate in Lent. Be sure you see the joy of what Jesus willingly did for you.

Giving something up for Lent? If you’d like to, go for it! But be sure that you take something up for Lent — Jesus! Renew your faith by focusing your attention on his healing and forgiving work as your Savior.

Pastor Tim Wempner



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Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. ~ 1 PETER 3:8