Waiting and Hurrying

All “Theologies of Hope” from Comenius to Blumhardt have praised these two attitudes to life in the hope of the Future of God: Christoph Blumhardt called it “Waiting and Hurrying”. It is 2 Peter 3:12 that calls Christians “to wait and to rush towards the future of the Lord”. With this is meant the new earth, “dwelling on Justice.”

Waiting and hurrying sounds like a contradiction. We wait, then what we are waiting for that is not yet here; we hurry then the expected is already is in sight. These are the two extremes, between which play out the requirements for the future. As border markers they must not themselves be contradictory. We translate “waiting and rushing” into our language and our experience.

Waiting: This does not mean a passive awaiting, but means an active expecting. Concerning this difference, there is a striking passage by the Prophet Isaiah: In exile, far from home, the prisoners came to the prophet and ask, “Watchman, how long yet the night?” And he answers, “The morning comes, but it is still night. If you want to ask, come back another time” (Isaiah 21:11-12). The Apostle Paul assimilates [takes] this picture of the night and announces the dawning day of God in light of the resurrection of Christ: “The night is far gone, the day is near at hand” (Rom 13:12).

Thus, the expectation comes from the waiting and from the dreams of the night come the awakening in the dawn of the new day. From the darkness of God comes the sunrise of God. What Paul ethically and hopefully calls the “armor of light”, so the awakening of hope takes the future promise of justice into one’s own life. The coming of God unfolds transformative power in the present. In eager expectation we will expect the future of God and this future becomes mighty in our present.

The ability to wait calls us to not adapt to the conditions of this world of injustice and violence. The one who expects the justice of God does not recognize the so-called normative power of facts because he knows that a better world is possible and changes of the present are necessary. The ability to wait means, to resist the threats and temptations of the present, not to be forced to leave or to adapt.

The ability to wait means, not giving up, not for the might of the powers of this world and not to capitulate to one’s own powerlessness, but to live with head held high. The “straight path”, which Kant recommended, is worthy of all honor. This is the heroic stance of the unbending backs of the free. The “raised head” is but an effect of the approaching redemption (Lk. 21:28).

The ability to wait is loyalty in faith. Hope gives not only the wings to faith, as they say, but also brings it steadfastness and perseverance to the end. This is the famous perseverantia santorum of Calvin and of the persecuted Huguenots.

“Lord, our God, there are other powers than you ruling over us as well, but we think only of you and your name”, said the captive people of God in the Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 26:13). This word was vital for the resistance of the Confessing Church of Nazi-Germany after 1933. The Huguenot Christian Marie Durand was held captive for 36 years in the Tour de la Constance in Aigues-Mortes and scratched her famous “resistez” on the gate, rather than renounce her faith and gain freedom again.

From Moltmann’s newest book, Ethik der Hoffnung. My attempt at translation.

Tomorrow I’ll post his thoughts on “hurrying”.

This entry was posted in Moltmann, spirituality, theology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *