Posted By Bill Clendineng on September 14, 2009
It is a very precious thing, to witness a true waiting upon the Lord. Many great and glorious promises are made to those that truly wait upon him(Psalm 37:9, Isaiah 40:31). They that wait upon the Lord shall lack no good thing(Psalm 34:10): this, to witness and enjoy, is the substance of all. While we waited upon invented means, men and books, upon our own thoughts and imaginations, our own wisdom and understanding, we lacked the good things; these were not sufficient to lead us to the knowledge, nor the enjoyment of them.
Hereby may all Christendom, so called, be tried and judged, specifically by this one word; they pretend a worshipping and waiting upon the Lord, but they lack the good things(Hebrews 9:11, Hebrews 10:1) , and the evil things abound amongst them; so are hereby found false witnesses, those who say they wait upon the Lord, and that he has not fulfilled His promises to them. A remnant are at this day true and faithful witnesses, that the Lord is faithful, just and true to His promises, and that he has fitted and furnished them with the heavenly treasures(Matthew 6:20), the good things of His kingdom, as they truly wait upon Him. This waiting does not begin when our solemn meetings begin, neither does it end with them, but remains always.
Bible references added
In the previous posts Shewen has described worship using a variety of biblical images. In this entry and the next he talks about worship using his preferred term: “Waiting.”
The heart of worship is “a true waiting upon the Lord,” and the evidence that true worship occurs is that we will “lack no good thing.”
What are the good things that come from a true waiting upon the Lord? They are the evidences of a sanctified life, a life that finds deep satisfaction in holy obedience to God. The sign that true worship is not happening is that “the evil things abound,” that people continue in a life of disobedience. True waiting on the Lord increases our awareness that things are not what they should be. We become convicted that our world and our lives fall short of the standards of the Kingdom and we need to become something different.
Early Friends were in a culture that considered itself Christian while showing very little of the character and teachings of Jesus. Friends set themselves apart by holding one other accountable to a Kingdom standard. In our contemporary culture, we would see this as intrusiveness and meddling in other people’s business. For Shewen and his contemporaries, however, it grew out of a desire to see others enjoy the good things of the Kingdom of God. They weren’t being intrusive or meddling. They wanted everyone to enjoy what they experienced in Christ.
The Friends process of eldering grew out of this desire, but I don’t see much eldering going on any more. Do we need to rediscover eldering? Or are we better off without it?
Shewen concludes this entry with a powerful reminder about the timelessness of worship:
This waiting does not begin when our solemn meetings begin, neither does it end with them, but remains always.