Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where do you need to loiter? Good Question! # 9

You've probably seen the sign on walls in public places--NO LOITERING. And, like me, you know why it's there. It's posted in an effort to keep people from camping out in a place they are only intended to visit for a short while. That can be a problem in cities, especially those with a large homeless population in search of shelter and warmth.

This week, I found myself thinking about loitering in a different light.

I was reading in Celtic Treasure, by J. Philip Newell, a meditation on John 20 about the story of Mary Magdalene going to Jesus' tomb in the wee hours of the morning. When she arrived, the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. Alarmed, Mary quickly ran to alert Jesus' disciples, Peter and John and they returned to the tomb together.

But "Mary remained in the garden after the disciples had gone."  She loitered.

You might recall what happened next. She must have heard something, noticed something that caught her eye. So, Mary peered into the empty tomb again and this time she saw two angels! And when she turned back, there was Jesus, standing next to her.Wow.

Think about what she would have missed if she hadn't remained--if she hadn't loitered!

It would have been so natural for her to follow the boys home; to go find refuge in the company of other distraught disciples. But instead, something inside Mary caused her to remain; to linger. And because she did, she came face to face with two angels--not to mention, Jesus.

As I read this story, I found myself drawn to the phrase, "Mary remained in the garden...." The words had that shimmering quality that I've learned to pay attention to. Soon, a question formed within me: Where do I need to remain?" Where do I need to wait, linger, dawdle,... loiter.

I've noticed over the last few years that some of my richest times of growth have come when I've been willing to "loiter" in a place--even an uncomfortable place--because I sensed there was something important for me to discover.  

So, here's the question I'd like to pose to you. Where do you need to loiter? Where do you need to linger in order to see something you'd otherwise miss? 

Here are some possible places for you to consider:
  • A story or passage in Scripture 
  • A conversation, even conflict, with one of your kids, spouse or friend
  • An experience where you were deeply moved
  • A decision that you need to take your time to make
  • A prayer that you feel like giving up on 
And don't let your internal "NO LOITERING"signs move you on until you see the angels--or better yet, Jesus.



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