The words of the Carly Simon song are “Anticipation, anticipation is makin’ me late, is keepin’ me waitin’.” The lyrics were written while she was waiting for a date with Cat Stevens. Anticipation was released in 1971. It was also used as the sound track for a Heinz ketchup commercial in 1979. For the original release, click here, and here for the commercial about slow ketchup.On Sunday, we were reminded that this is the season of anticipation and preparation. Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. In the church calendar, Advent is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas, as well as preparation for the second coming of Christ.
Advent has anticipation associated with it that cannot be equated with that of any earthly experience (or song). The anticipation of Advent has run throughout the history of redemption, from the promise of a Savior in Genesis 3:15 (“the Seed of the woman”) to the promise of his second coming in Revelation 22:20 (“Yes, I am coming soon.”)
During this season of Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ. The Common Lectionary suggests Scripture readings for each of the four Sundays of Advent to guide our preparation. You are welcome to join me in reading these during the coming days and weeks.
-First Sunday: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44.
-Second Sunday: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12.
-Third Sunday: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 148:5-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11.
-Fourth Sunday: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25.
Leadership development has its own kind of anticipation and preparation. It looks, with hope and expectation, for the emergence of leaders who are being called and equipped to be used by God for advancing the Kingdom.
The challenge, as one writer puts it, is that “Most training equips pastors for one hour on Sunday morning but ignores the other forty-plus hours of the week that demand such things as leadership gifts and abilities, people skills, and strategic thinking and doing” (Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model For Church and Ministry Leaders).