De Profundis, in Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, ca 1416. Folio 70r - the Musée Condé, Chantilly. Public Domain.
I Am Waiting By Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I am waiting for my case to come up and I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder and I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail and I am waiting for the discovery of a new symbolic western frontier and I am waiting for the American Eagle to really spread its wings and straighten up and fly right and I am waiting for the Age of Anxiety to drop dead and I am waiting for the war to be fought which will make the world safe for anarchy and I am waiting for the final withering away of all governments and I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Second Coming and I am waiting for a religious revival to sweep thru the state of Arizona and I am waiting for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored and I am waiting for them to prove that God is really American and I am waiting to see God on television piped onto church altars if only they can find the right channel to tune in on and I am waiting for the Last Supper to be served again with a strange new appetizer and I am perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for my number to be called and I am waiting for the Salvation Army to take over and I am waiting for the meek to be blessed and inherit the earth without taxes and I am waiting for forests and animals to reclaim the earth as theirs and I am waiting for a way to be devised to destroy all nationalisms without killing anybody and I am waiting for linnets and planets to fall like rain and I am waiting for lovers and weepers to lie down together again in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed and I am anxiously waiting for the secret of eternal life to be discovered by an obscure general practitioner and I am waiting for the storms of life to be over and I am waiting to set sail for happiness and I am waiting for a reconstructed Mayflower to reach America with its picture story and tv rights sold in advance to the natives and I am waiting for the lost music to sound again in the Lost Continent in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the day that maketh all things clear and I am awaiting retribution for what America did to Tom Sawyer and I am waiting for Alice in Wonderland to retransmit to me her total dream of innocence and I am waiting for Childe Roland to come to the final darkest tower and I am waiting for Aphrodite to grow live arms at a final disarmament conference in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting to get some intimations of immortality by recollecting my early childhood and I am waiting for the green mornings to come again youth’s dumb green fields come back again and I am waiting for some strains of unpremeditated art to shake my typewriter and I am waiting to write the great indelible poem and I am waiting for the last long careless rapture and I am perpetually waiting for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn to catch each other up at last and embrace and I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder
Psalm 130 is one of a collection of “songs of ascent” or “pilgrim songs” comprising Psalm 120-134. The city of Jerusalem is situated on a hill, and Jews traveling to the city for important festivals sang these songs as they ascended the uphill road to the city. Of this collection, Psalm 130 is perhaps the best known. Commonly known by its opening words in Latin, De Profundis, or “Out of the Depths,” this psalm has influenced many theologians over the centuries. Martin Luther called it “a proper master and doctor of Scripture.” John Wesley’s transforming experience at Aldersgate was provoked by hearing this psalm sung. Hebrew Bible scholar James L. Mays notes that “This record commends the psalm as a succinct but powerful expression of the theme that is the heart of Scripture: the human predicament and its dependence on divine grace.”
There are four parts to this psalm: • An invocation, or request for God to listen • A confession, comprised of a statement about sin and divine forgiveness • A confession of faith in the form of waiting and hope • A statement of adoration
Waiting on God is referenced throughout our Scriptures so often that it is likely one of our primary stances in our relationship with the divine. The author of James’ letter tells the recipients to
Be patient, sisters, and brothers until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. - James 5:7-8
Likewise, the prophet Micah writes,
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. – Micah 7:7
There is an aspect of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, and the social distancing we are all practicing that feels like waiting. We are waiting for more information, new recommendations, and toilet paper in the grocery store. We are wondering when businesses will open back up, and we can return to normal, or at the very least, something closer to the way things were two weeks ago. Some of us are experiencing boredom, tiredness, and the sense that we are living out the life of Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day.
Waiting is not a fun activity for most of us. But what if waiting with patience and with hope was more than a mindless activity? What if it was a spiritual discipline? What if waiting - like the waiting we practice during Advent - prepares us for what comes next? That type of waiting has expectations, goals, and some degree of certainty that one day these present troubles will be lifted, and life will flourish.
May we wait patiently and with hope these days, trusting that God is among us and about to do something grand.