In times of turmoil—of social confusion and political strife, of family or personal suffering—calling for patience can seem lame or an irrelevant inaction; it might even be thought to make matters worse. But, in adversity—whether that be individual or national, a matter of a day or a concern of a lifetime—patience is exactly what God calls us to. It is, after all, God’s way with his creation in rebellion.
This month, Luke Fenwick guides us with care, precision, and compassion into a deeper understanding of patience. In “Unassuming presence: God’s patience and our own,” he contrasts the patience of the Church with the ancient and modern ideals of self-realisation before pondering God’s patience in Christ and our own need to grow. It is patience that liberates our heart, he says, to bless others. Alongside Luke’s article, do read Alistair Reese’s personal reflection, “Patience has its way.” Farmer, father, activist, and teacher, Alistair testifies to the way God has—patiently—drawn him into the way of patience to a path of trust and freedom across many years.
We’re fortunate to have contributions by two artists this month. In her recent art practice, Amanda Watson has been exploring place by creating in situ, laying, wrapping, and painting the canvases in the bush, working with a particular place to make original work. As she explains, it’s a dynamic, interactive method of patience and attention. Here, she reflects on work from her upcoming exhibition, “Local Geographies.” So much of what we learn and so much of how we teach is—as musician, composer, and teacher Gabrielle Peake knows—impossible without patience. In this month’s Field Notes interview with Jannah Dennison, Gabrielle muses on her formation and on the centrality of patience to her vocation as a musician and teacher.
Finally, no issue of Common Ground would be complete without a thoughtful, practical invitation for you to join us in experiencing deeper life with God. We’re glad if you read this month’s practice, curated by Sam Bloore from our publication, The Hare and the Tortoise; but our hope is that you’ll join us in doing it—in learning and practising, by the Holy Spirit’s help, the good way of patience. You might try it because you’re curious. But you’ll likely keep doing it because you find—as we have—that this good and hurting world so badly needs women and men who live and bless, and wait and act, with the patience of Christ, in step with God’s good time for everything.
Dr John Dennison,
Editor, Common Ground.
P.S. We hope you love the new-look of Common Ground!