Have you ever waited for a day with such expectancy that you could hardly contain your joy? We endure the waiting time, knowing what is to come will overshadow anything that came before.

This kind of longing also shows up in our spiritual lives. During the season of Lent we wait for what we know is coming but is not here yet.

I invite you, as we endure the hard days ahead, to lean into the darkness before the light, sit with the sorrow before the joy, and relish the silence before the trumpets and Alleluias.

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"The gardener responded, ‘Lord, give it one more year, and I will dig around it and give it fertilizer. Maybe it will produce fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.’”

Luke 13:8-9

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I’m impatient. It is a symptom of our busy and chaotic world. Smart phones, computers, and tablets have conditioned me to want an immediate response. Facebook and Instagram prove to the world how up-to-date I am on all the recent news and that I am in constant motion.

But our text from Luke is calling us to pull back for a moment. The gardener says to give it a year — give it some time. Cultivate the plant and then you can judge it for what it is.

We need to slow down and spend some time cultivating the things that are most important to us. We need to go against what culture tells us — that we need answers and information now — and be prepared to wait.

Where can you say no to busyness? When might you put your cell phone aside or turn off the computer to practice cultivating your life?

Katie Gilbert

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God, it is hard to slow down and wait. Help me to recognize the importance of saying no to busyness and saying yes to quiet and stillness. Amen.

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God is teaching us.
We endure through so much—
through time, through pain,
through joy and sorrow,
sunshine and rain,
And sometimes the boring everyday.

But God is teaching us.
Love remains.
Mercy is wide.
Grace abounds.
The Alleluias are coming…

And God is teaching us.
Inviting all of us on the journey.
Enduring, overcoming,
growing, changing, becoming.

Katie Gilbert

Rev. Katie Gilbert currently serves as Director of Outreach and Invitation at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, AL. She enjoys spending time with her husband Matt, her 9 month old daughter Harper, and their crazy Boston Terrier, Lennon. They love to travel the world, eat good food, and spend time with family.

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