Notes from Jan

Lent: A Time To Tarry

February 9, 2024

It’s been awhile since I thought about tarrying. Life presses and pulses. Phones ping with texts. Meanwhile, my TO DO list grows, as my time shrinks.

Still, God keeps showing up, beckoning me to be still and know that God is God. And that’s where tarrying comes in. Sure, it’s an old fashioned word but my soul, and maybe yours, longs to tarry, whatever that is.

As we enter the season of Lent, I’m grateful for the book we’re reading at Christ Church. Father Patrick’s book choices have a way of shepherding us, as we share and learn together.

So what are we reading? Tarry Awhile by Selina Stone. The book leads us into discovering “wisdom from black spirituality for people of faith.” Some of you know the Biblical source of her title. But I needed a reminder. Matthew 26:38 in the King James Version of the Bible provided the answer. Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. Before Jesus goes off to pray, he asks these men to, “tarry ye here, and watch with me.”

For whatever reason, they didn’t tarry. They slept.

I like to think I’d have stayed awake but I know better. Sometimes I sleep to avoid thinking or acting. But Lent is a good time to learn to tarry. As the author wrote in her introduction: “Tarrying is important for all of us who live with desire, loss, weakness, temptation, frustration, disappointment and fear. It provides us with space…it allows us time to ponder the ways of God that are not our ways and our lives within the life of God. It can be uncomfortable, as it brings to the surface things we would rather not see.”(p.4)

When I read this, I thought of something Anne Lamott said, “It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.”

Well, I need wait training. I get antsy and impatient. But the author encourages me that good can come, “great treasures await us as we remain curious and open to finding God in the unfamiliar.” (p.5)

And so I pray, Jesus, help me to stay awake. I know me. Which is why I don’t want to miss finding you in the unfamiliar because I’m afraid to do uncomfortable things.

Lent nudges me to sign-up for wait training? And to learn what it means to tarry.

You, too?

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  • Reply Dale February 10, 2024 at 7:34 am

    Thanks Jan. I don’t know if it was my Mennonite moorings but to “tarry” had the sense of being late or even wasting time – Let’s get on with it whatever “it” was, which generally meant what I wanted to do or see happen. I remember Jud telling me that he agreed with everything the Lord does but His timing! So, somehow, timing and tarrying are close allies. So, those who wait upon the Lord, which means for His perfect timing, will be strengthened by Him. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and let God. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 10, 2024 at 9:26 am

      My dear friend and brother,Dale. Thank you , as always, for adding to the blog with your insights. Yes, Jud would say that. But then he’d usually choose to remain in God’s waiting room. Maybe it helps that you both loved to fish. Patience is part of the process. Or so I’ve heard. Alas, sometimes I do what I can to skip a step or two in order to make something happen. I fall more into the category of, “Lord, I need more patience. Can I have it NOW?” I can hear Marty at the piano playing the answer, “In His Time.”

  • Reply Radina Welton February 10, 2024 at 11:19 am

    Yes! Me too! Thank you for the Spirit’s nudge coming through you.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 12, 2024 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks, very dear Radina. As a musician, I imagine some of your tarrying time with Jesus has a musical background. Waiting is hard. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses music to nudge me to take a seat in God’s waiting room. Hope you’re all doing well in Oregon.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe February 11, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    Wait training – I love this, Jan! As for tarrying, I can’t recall the exact quote, but someone once tried to buttonhole Bible teacher Beth Moore into declaring whether she was solely complementarian or egalitarian, and she responded that the only “tar’ian” she really coveted was tarrying with Jesus.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 12, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      That’s sounds like something Beth Moore would say! Thanks, thoughtful and wise Maggie, for adding your insights to the blog. Tarrying’s so hard in our culture of blinking lights, pinging phones and muzak for the masses. We’re so afraid of what quiet might say to us.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold February 17, 2024 at 12:04 pm

    Wonderful post, Jan! I saved those quotes for encouragement during this season of Lent.



    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 17, 2024 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks, dear Alyssa, you encouraged me. As a dancer you know about weight training. And as a follower of Christ you know the importance of WAIT training. Both matter. Hugs to Andrew and you.

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