James 5, 7-11
Something to read
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. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
Advent is nearly upon us and today’s reading points us forward to this season’s themes of waiting. And the model that is given for patient waiting is that of the farmer, who waits for his crop until the rains come.
Many of us may feel distinctly uncomfortable with this. We don’t have to read very much of the news to know that farmers are waiting endlessly for rains that never come – or they come too heavily, or at the wrong time.
And we don’t have to look very much further to read of the other people and communities who are waiting – for medicines, for food, for jobs. This is so different from the developed world, where for much of the time we can get what we want when we want it.
Christian Aid is committed to helping people and communities find long-term and sustainable solutions to the challenges they face. This means being there for the long haul and engaging, through our partners, in work that is often slow and painstaking.
Our reading finishes with the proclamation of the coming of God as judge. The restoration of justice is on its way. But to achieve that, we may need to learn to be patient and to wait with those who have no choice about whether they wait or not.
Something to do
Think of some of the luxuries you will buy today. Resolve to wait for one or more of them and reflect on the experience of doing so.
Something to pray
Advent God, give us the endurance to resist the temptation of quick-fix answers as we wait for the coming of your justice. Be with us as we wait, remind us of your compassion and mercy, and turn our lack of hope into courage so that our waiting may be over and all the world rejoice.
Kate Tuckett is a former Church Resources Manager for Christian Aid and is now a Curate in the Diocese of Southwark.