Patience…again (Galatians 5:22-26 & 1st Corinthians 13:4-7)

Just last Sunday (yes, day before last) we gathered round the table as we do. And after greeting each other, after sharing smiles, after likely making mention of the sun shining outside & streaming in through the stained glass windows we opened in prayer, asking that God be present — in our reading of scripture, in our sharing of life (in all life really).

And then, (DELIGHTFULLY) it was time to check in. Time to answer if we consider ourselves to be patient and then to share what scripture has to say about patience (and to share if anyone had steps to grow their patience muscles). Some fun things happened y’all…there were some eye rolls (I LOVE the honesty) — those who shared they certainly do not want to ask for patience because they know how God works! Most folks named that they are not too patient, or if they are patient — they are patient situationally — additionally, which I SO appreciated that this was named — was the ability to identify that at times we might be patient with others and less so with ourselves. A fun point that was discovered here too was how we might assess ourselves as compared with how we might assess others — someone shared their challenge with patience — & another was shocked, saying they find them to be incredibly patient (hilarious was the response that they must have never been driving with them….though they promise they don’t have road rage!).

The conversation was rich and included considering whether patience is a gift from God or a skill (that really can be developed) to which I answered “yes.” As folks also named the scriptures that they had found — many noticed the patience of God being named and others wondered just how patient God really is….and we also engaged the scripture “love is patient” which was ideal because that was one of the scriptures we took some time with….

  • Galatians 5:22-26:
    • 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
    • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So we held these two texts and we continued the conversation….and that conversation & consideration will continue for the next 2 weeks (the next time we’ll gather round the table officially will be Jan. 12th) — but of course we have life work in the interim (and maybe folks want to gather round the table to check-in and to pray with each other….just a thought……

And the homework is this: create a daily prayer (simple — 1 sentence)….maybe something like this:

Dear God help me to love (or: be patient; be kind; be generous; be faithful; be gentle; have self-control; experience joy; have peace).

I don’t know….but a simple prayer, prayed daily…and let’s see what God does.

In Christ — the One who we celebrate his birth because in it — God came near to be with us!

~ Rev. Sabrina Slater