There is no video for today’s worship service as the service had to be canceled due to the pastor’s illness. Below is a transcript of the message intended for the service.


God, open us to hear and receive your scriptures today as you would have us hear them, understand them as you would have us understand them, and to act upon them as you would have us act upon them.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Scriptures this morning are from the NRSV.

Isaiah 40:21-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?

Amos 5:24

But let justice roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Matthew 25:40

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.’

Mark 1:29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.”

He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”

And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

L:  The scriptures of God for the people of God.

A: Thanks be to God.       

Message – Waiting on God?*

Rev. Val

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer, and may you see fit to use me as a vessel from which you pour out your Divine Word.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“But those who wait for the Lord…” (Isaiah 40:31).

How do you wait for the Lord? Like this? Pray and then wait. Work and then wait. Get on with your life, all the while, waiting to see what will happen – what the Lord will do. Sometimes getting frustrated when the answer isn’t immediate or apparent. Eventually understanding you can’t force God’s action on anything. You can’t ensure that God will respond to your requests in any way that is visible. So, waiting on the Lord is what it means to live in the world. Right? Always waiting.

Take another look at these verses from Isaiah. Perhaps we’re not thinking of “waiting” the way Isaiah means we should wait. Isaiah doesn’t seem to be asking us to wait for God to act. Instead, there seems to be a call to recognize who God is.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?” Isaiah isn’t asking us to “sit and wait.” Isaiah is asking us to go back to our fundamental understanding of the nature of God. The presence of God. The reality of God. He goes back to the beginning; he looks at the ground beneath our feet. God is a part of all of it. God is the source of all of it—the source of you. “Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.”

Isaiah isn’t asking us to “sit and wait.” He’s asking us to pay attention to what already is. To know that God is here among us, around us, within us already. Waiting on the Lord, in this case, means trusting, relying on, and being confident in the Lord. We lean into the reality that says God is equipping us as we learn and grow as disciples, as we become those who have heard and those who know. We see God at work all around us, through the encounters and relationships of the people of God.

But Isaiah’s asking us to do something else as well. “… but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Think about that for a moment. “Those who wait shall renew their strength …”.

In 2001, I suffered an injury to my right arm. The injury was severe enough that I needed physical therapy. The therapist waited until the stitches were out and the wounds pretty well healed to start the therapy in order to avoid reopening any of the wounds … about 5 or 6 weeks of that kind of waiting. During that period, the strength in and use of my right arm and hand decreased by about 70%. I couldn’t lift a frying pan, button buttons, or raise my arm high enough to brush my own hair. Once physical therapy got going, I regained most of the use of my arm and hand, relearned how to do some things and learned new ways to do others, but I’ve never gotten all the use of it back. I think it’s less the severity of the injury and the fact that I lost even more strength in that period when I couldn’t use it at all prior to the physical therapy. Talk to people who’ve had similar incidents that required long periods of immobility and they’ll tell you the same thing – keep moving. Walk off that sprain. Stretch those achy muscles. Keep moving, keep doing, stay in shape.

Isaiah isn’t telling us to come to a screeching halt and do nothing but wait. If we did that, our spiritual muscles … our faith could lose strength and possibly atrophy just like the muscles in my arm did. No, he’s telling us to remember who and where God is, and to wait for God. And hear those two words again … wait … and … for.

Like a lot of young people, I grew up working in the food and beverage industry, and eventually in retail. I waited on the customers. I would imagine many of you have had the same experience. At the very least, you’ve been waited on by someone else working to meet your needs, right?

Isaiah says “those who wait,” but waiting on God? God who has hosts of angel armies? God hardly needs we mere mortals to wait on him, too. So what does Isaiah mean when he says “those who wait for the Lord?”

He means “on behalf of,” being the waiters here on earth as the angel hosts are in heaven. We wait on behalf of God when we wait on those in need around us. Remember, Jesus told us that as we serve – feed, tend, visit, invite – others, we are serving him. He is among us, and we are waiting on behalf of, therefore serving, him.

There is power, a renewal, that “walk it off” healing, in serving others, especially when you know that in doing so you’re serving him.

You’ve probably seen it. You’ve probably experienced it or heard about it in testimonials or mission reports about how the strength to go beyond ability and endurance came about because of the desire to serve, to be in mission together in community. You’ve heard or felt that mounting up with wings like eagles from those who report that they received more than they gave, that they were blessed more than they blessed others just through the joy they experienced in giving without expectation of reward. That’s the strength that comes from waiting on the Lord, being aware of the Lord’s presence as one works and gives and loves. There is always more, an abundance of resources, when the people of God decide to pool together to partner with God in building the kin-dom.

Simon’s mother-in-law is a perfect example of this. Look now at our passage from Mark. Simon’s mother is sick with a fever, but at the touch of Jesus’ hand, she gets up and begins to serve. Did you notice that? She didn’t get up and salute her good health. She didn’t get up and celebrate her good fortune or her personal blessing or the lucky happenstance. No, the only response that made sense to her in that moment was to serve others. She literally began to wait on the Lord after rising from her sickbed. What a witness! And in front of all those people who’d gathered to seek healing from Jesus.

What was it Mark said? The crowd that gathered, the sick and possessed, the whole city, gathered around the door waiting on the Lord. And he cured many, Mark says. Many, but perhaps not all. There is nothing, however, to indicate that some were worthy, and some were not. We shouldn’t speculate too much on why all were not healed. Maybe Mark really meant all, but even he had trouble believing it. Was it all? The whole city? Surely not.

Mark goes on to tell us that Jesus went out and used the power he had to heal many of those present, but then he needed to recharge, so he got up while it was still dark. He had a singular focus in the moment: spending time with God. He knew what it was to wait on the Lord. He knew the effort it required and the focus it needed. He knew that the only way to walk and not faint, to run and not be weary, is to continually take time to be with God, to set aside everything else to fully be present with the source of his strength and direction. He knew his wings would come only when he would wait on the Lord. And so, he went off to be by himself to pray.

Mark goes on to tell us that the next morning the disciples came looking for him to tell him the everyone was looking for him, and we assume they meant everyone back in town. But Jesus says, “I’m moving on.” Notice the focus on mission that Jesus expresses to his disciples: “so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came to do.” That is what I came to do. The healing is extra, a sign or pointer to the essence of the message he came to deliver. The message was what he said, but also what – and who – he was. And he needed to be moving on so that more would hear and know and be able to find their place in God’s kingdom, which was breaking out around them.

We might argue that since he had already spoken to those around Simon’s mother-in-law’s house that they had what they needed. They could work to resolve the outstanding issues of the human community together. Just like we, while we are waiting on the Lord, are also called to be a part of the healing of community and the becoming of the people of God by making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It is not, however, our responsibility to make excuses for what might seem like questionable behavior on Jesus’ part. It is what it is. A part of waiting on the Lord means not getting caught up in what we can’t understand or explain. Instead, we trust that he did what he was called to do. Just as we must do what we are called to do. These are wings we fly with, as the people of God we are becoming. The wings of call, the wings of service, the wings of love that bring us into the kingdom we seek to embrace and promote. So, let us walk and not be weary, let us run and not faint as we seek to represent the God upon whom we wait.

So, let us wait for the Lord with purpose. Let us seek to carry out Micah 6:8. To act justly to all we encounter. Let us love mercy. In a world full of hate and othering and more and more people being excluded, a world that’s hurting, let us be the embodiment of the compassion of Christ, and let us do so with humility giving all glory, honor, and laud to our Lord.

Let us be living testaments to Amos 5:24, to call out injustices when we see them, and to do all we can to see those injustices brought to an end. To dismantle systemic oppression of any and all people through our own actions, through our interactions, and through the powers given us as citizens of a democracy so that Justice truly will roll on like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Let us remember what Christ said in Matthew 25:40, that whatever we do for the least among us, we do for Jesus. Serving others is that waiting on behalf of God.

Let us be those who wait for the LORD so our strength will be renewed, we’ll be carried on the wings of eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint.

Let us pray:

O God, we are gathered here under the shelter of your wings,

nurtured by your motherly love,

and encouraged, then, to fly by faith on the wind of your spirit.

You have spoken to us, saying

“They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings as eagles.”

Teach us how to wait, then, that we may learn how to fly.

May this nest we call “family” be built with sturdy materials.

Don’t let us forget, though,

that this nest was not created as a fortress behind which to hide,

but as a perch from which to take off.

And strengthen us with the assurance that we do not fly alone.

This we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


  • Unless listed below, all works cited within the text above.
  • *Adapted in part or full from Preaching Notes, Discipleship Ministries Worship Planning Series.

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