FOR WEDNESDAY, ADVENT II
“Have you ever given up waiting on something?” by the Rt. Rev. George Young, retired bishop
The Church Pension Fund for Episcopal clergy is a wonderful gift, providing retirement income for life for a clergy person, and then their surviving spouse when they die. The “magic number” - is 30, as in 30 years of credited service. That’s the point at which a cleric gets the maximum amount of pension.
When Kammy and I began to make plans about my retirement, it became clear pretty quickly that the point at which I wanted to retire was about 2.5 years shy of that “magic number” that would result in a significantly larger monthly pension.
The living apart and my extensive travel had become very stressful for us, and “waiting” to receive more income was not nearly an important enough factor to make the decision for us. So - we “gave up waiting.”
There were several things we didn’t know when we began the process of retiring - a process that requires a decision about two years in advance. We didn’t know that I would develop a huge tumor inside my liver just seven months after retirement. Though benign from the start, it still was an episode that had me in the hospital for some time, surgery at the Mayo Clinic, and recovery over several months. That would have been a great hardship in the Diocese of East Tennessee had I still been bishop.
We also didn’t know that our daughter Lucy would become pregnant with our grandson Houston (now four+), and our presence for love and support would be an important gift for their family, and for ours.
I was the rector of St. Peter’s in Fernandina Beach for 14 years before being elected bishop. It is paradise there - both the parish and the community. Over my years there, so many couples would retire there, and there were far too many times when they had worked very hard all their adult life to be able to retire and live the “good life”, and within a year one of them would die. I never forgot that and was therefore committed to enjoying retired life with my family at just the right time, without “waiting” for what our culture insisted was the best reason to wait - more income. We are more blessed than we could have ever imagined!
Reading for the week: Isaiah 11: 1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Collect for the week:
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Join us this Advent as we explore what it’s like to wait! We are offering a collection of daily questions and reflections inviting us to consider what we experience and learn in our waiting, and how we find God - and God finds us - in our waiting.
Each Sunday a brief video will be shared on Facebook and Instagram to introduce us to a focus and reflection for the week. Each day a question will be posted for us to ponder. You are invited to share your own reflections by replying to these posts or reposting on your personal social media. Please follow and use #diocgcwaits. Be sure to follow our diocesan social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram; search: DioCGC.