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Patient Trust


Like most rectors of most Episcopal churches, I open our vestry (governing board) meetings with a prayer. At this week's vestry meeting, I felt moved to open with a prayer titled "Patient Trust," from a favorite little book of prayers titled "Hearts on Fire."

Given all the changes the faith community I serve (The Falls Church Episcopal) has experienced in its recent past, and in light of all the joyful challenges of this faith community's return to its property and the related seemingly never-ending litigation, and especially mindful of the Rev. Cathy Tibbett's departure (after Christmas) to accept her call as Rector of Christ Church, Luray, this prayer spoke to me. Based on vestry members' positive reactions, it spoke to them as well, and so I share it now with a wider audience, thinking perhaps -- especially in this anticipatory season of Advent coming up -- that the Holy Spirit may speak through it to you as well:  

Patient Trust
Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
                to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
                unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
                that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability-
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
your ideas mature gradually - let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
     acting on your own good will)
     will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
     gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
     that his hand is leading you,
     and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
     in suspense and incomplete.
                                  --Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ

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