The even greater silence - closing prayer

we are all waiting, lord
some of us are waiting for minor things
that only trouble the corners of our minds from time to time
some of us are consumed by waiting, unable to live fully
until our hopes and fears are resolved

none of us know how things will turn out

but we know that you do
but we know that you love

how do we know how to be faithful, when we don't know how things will work out?
how do we prepare?
what will we do in the meantime?
will it make a difference to what happens?
should we prepare for the best or the worst?
can hope and faithfulness encompass both outcomes?

none of us know how things will turn out

but we know that you do
but we know that you love

how do we wait serenely, when our imaginations get in the way?
how do we wait for god to act, without cooking up strategies for self-defence?
how do we accept uncertainty?
how long should we be prepared to wait?
how do we fill in the time, without wasting it?

none of us know how things will turn out

but we know that you do
but we know that you love

how long does faith last when nothing happens?
why do we expect answers within a certain time?
why do we think the answer will be different, if it doesn't come when we expect it?
do we think that delay means something has gone wrong?
can we think that delay means something is growing, like a flower,
or cooking, like a cake?

none of us know how things will turn out

but we know that you do
but we know that you love

we are all waiting, lord
in hope and in fear
but the difference is often in ourselves rather than in our prospects

when heaven is silent and earth is noisy
help us not to be distracted or misled
help us to be active shapers of the future we long to see

even if we cannot make the future
we will prepare its place
even if we cannot cook the feast
we will lay the table and invite the guests
even if we cannot sing the song
we will make the silence in which it will be heard
even if we cannot see the dawn yet
we will live by the light that we have

we will remember the stories
of how you rewarded those who dared to wait
we will wait in the knowledge
that waiting is not in vain if it is waiting for you

you are the one who holds our future
you are the one who was, and is, and will be
walk with us tonight, and for ever

amen