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.
It is at this point that James turns to the Christians who have been so oppressed by the landowners to encourage them to stay strong and wait for the coming of the Lord. I can just hear the sceptical response in 21st century speak, ‘Aye Right!’ How many of us can truly profess to have great patience when in the depths of adversity? And yet here the challenge to these Christians is to exercise just that. Whilst I can find it in me to be patient in most situations, there are times when I want to scream, ‘oh, for goodness sake, just get on with it!’ I struggle with bureaucracy, or to what appears to me to be needless, outdated traditions. Yet, when I have taken the moment to draw breath and waited a tad longer, other opportunities or possibilities have invariably come to light. Even, dare I say, better ones than perhaps I had first envisioned. Patience, they say is a virtue, and something we need to exercise more of – with each other, with situations in which we find ourselves and in order for us to discern the mind of Christ, and work at his bidding.
Gracious God, We give thanks for your presence among us whether in times of adversity, sorrow or joy. Merciful God, help us to be patient with others, with the situations in which we find ourselves, and to draw on your strength and wisdom to guide us through these times. May we be patient enough to allow your Holy Spirit to do its work. Amen
The Rev’d Jan Adamson is Clerk of the Synod of Scotland and Interim Moderator, Bathgate URC, West Lothian