Waiting with Confidence

Kathy TanabeMy friend Kathy was like the Energizer Bunny. She never sat still. When she wasn’t helping kids as a physical therapist, she was attending a synod committee meeting. Or she was attending Bible study, or serving the hungry or leading a youth event or participating in small groups or heading up the CROP walk. Kathy became a Christian as an adult. She spent every minute living like Jesus was her Savior. She never got tired of sharing how God was moving in her life. She was always serving the little, lonely, lost, and least. When I read the Bible story his week, I thought of Kathy.

Matthew 25: 1-13 is the parable about waiting bridesmaids. The groom is late. Half of the bridesmaids run out of oil for their lamps. The others are ready and waiting so they make it in to the wedding feast. This is a strange story for us in the 21st century. Today bridesmaids accompany the bride not the groom. Oil lamps are an outdated issue. And I really wonder about a groom arriving so late to the wedding that the wedding party has fallen asleep.

Matthew’s gospel was written in time when Christians were beginning to wonder if Jesus (the bridegroom) was ever going to return. Everyone thought it would happen right away—in their lifetime. Now years later they wonder… When (if ever) will Jesus come again? Suddenly this parable has meaning for us today. Thousands of years later we are still wondering. Or maybe we have even stopped expecting Jesus to return. Maybe this parable has something to say to us about waiting.

That brings me back to Kathy. You see Kathy knew how to wait. In the fall of 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of slowing down, Kathy waited and lived with confidence. You could still never find Kathy at home. In fact now she was traveling across the country and world with family and friends—in addition to all her usual activities. Kathy added prayers and uplifting messages to her Caring Bridge site, sharing her journey and faith.

One of my last memories of Kathy was her standing at the door of the SE MN synod assembly this spring. Walking and standing were a challenge by now, but you would never know it. Kathy was greeting people as they entered, her face lit up with a giant smile. Just weeks later Kathy died and was reunited with Jesus.

Lord, teach me to wait with confidence. Help me to live and serve and love fully every single day. Thank you for Kathy and my faith community who help me remember what is really important. Keep my light for Jesus burning brightly. Amen.

Want to dig a little deeper into the Parable of the Bridesmaids? Check out this article by Matthew Skinner: http://www.odysseynetworks.org/on-scripture-the-bible/since-wait-wed-better-get-work-matthew-251-13/

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