"cleanse us from unbelief and sloth,
and fill us with hope and zeal,
that we may do your work,
and bear your cross,
and bide your time,
and see your glory....
We are, it seems, passionate about zeal and cross carrying, we love to do work for God (never God's work, of course, God does God's work, not us) and to radiate hope. But biding God's time is a bit of a downer, isn't it? After all we need to get on with it.
Whatever IT is.
Time was when time biding was something I couldn't abide... I mean it was a waste of time, time lost and slipped like clutches and wheels spinning for nothing, sand for the fingers.
Time. We can keep it and lose it, find it and make it, we can pass it and waste it, we can watch it and use it, we can be on it or after it, even before it or miss it . We think we'll know the time when it comes. But do we?
In truth we can do none of those things. For we are simply in it, and it will do to us but we can do nothing in return: we simply ride the stream until it turns us out into the sea of eternity. Time and chance happen to us all. We do not happen to them.
We can no more swim against time than against a rip tide in spate.
So, to bide God's time.
That's a life's work the Church has forgotten with its plans, and renewals and reforms. It was ever thus. There was always too much to do. We'd be still, let time happen to us once we got this done, that done, things rearranged and reordered. Then, in the fulness of time we'd be ready to bide God's time.
Bide God's time? And we said, "No, but we must flee upon horses, there is growth to be gone for and intentional everything.".
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused and said, "No! We will flee upon horses"—therefore you shall flee! and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"—therefore your pursuers shall be swift!We are pursued by the Egyptians with their material comforts and the Babylonians with their clever ideas... all of which we must ape in order to compete.
For our God is a business and our merchandise is salvation, and we must corner the market before the competition crowds us out. Time is of the essence, time well used, wrung out and dry in the desiccated conversations of our avoidance of nothing.
Imagine how we would waste time if Church was a space, a waiting, a pregnant pause that folk might conceive as being an opening for them? No, that's for when we've filled the pews and the coffers too. Not for now.
Turn us again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted. They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance. But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; quicken us, and we will call on your name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, and we shall be saved.
Turn us again, O God our saviour, help us to bide your time.
Help us learn to bide you time.
The three days tomb alone brings Resurrection.
Scripture references: Ecclesiastes 9:11; Isaiah 30:15-16; Psalm 80:14-19