November 23, 2020
The Advent 1B Sermon Starters include commentary and illustration ideas for Mark 13:24-37 from the Lectionary Gospel; Isaiah 64:1-9 from the Old Testament Lectionary; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 from the Lectionary Psalms; and 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 from the Lectionary Epistle.
Related Reformed confession: Old Testament Lectionary: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 49 (Lord’s Day 24)
Author: Scott Hoezee
Maybe nearing the end of 2020 it is not at all difficult to bend people’s thoughts to all things apocalyptic. Most years when the Lectionary reading for the First Sunday in Advent directs us to the Olivet Discourse and Jesus’ words about the end of the world, it can be a stretch to do the seemingly UN-Christmas-like thing of pointing to the end of the world. Long about the time most people are switching all of their Christmas lights on to celebrate the holiday, the Gospel reading for the first Sunday in Advent brings us straight to a text that points forward to a great and coming day when all the lights will go . . . out.
Except that 2020 has been such a relentlessly trying, sobering, tragic year—and it has only gotten worse in recent weeks—that this time around turning to a text like Mark 13 might actually seem to make sense to people. Maybe this year it will be a stretch to get people to want to think about the usual, Hallmarky types of things given the grim realities of COVID-19, of probably facing the reality of not gathering with family and friends for Christmas even as most of us will not do in the U.S. for Thanksgiving this week either.
But as is always true, there is a reason the church insists on beginning Advent here. Why darken the Advent landscape before we really get going here? The reason is plain enough to understand, even if it is quite counter-cultural. Because let’s face it: if the church cannot proclaim and look forward to the second advent of Christ, then in all honesty there is precious little sense in making much ado about his first advent in Bethlehem.
If Jesus is not coming back to make all things new and bring in the kingdom he talked about all through his ministry, then any celebration of his birth really would be on a par with fantasies about Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or the generic “holiday spirit” with which people try to get infused every December. If Jesus is not the Lord of lords who can come back at the end of history, then “Silent Night” has all the charm—and all the meaning—of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”
But another reason for the church to ponder the day when the cosmic lights go out is because there is something about that prospect of darkness that makes people long for—and appreciate all-the-more—the One we proclaim to be the Light of the World. And once again to note the merely obvious, 2020 has left us longing for Light more than usual. If the whole world just generally resembled the little fantasy kingdoms in the mall (and that most of us try to approximate in our own front yards each December), then the world would not need saving and God would not have needed to go to the bloody lengths he did to make that salvation a reality.
It may be bracing for the church to kick off Advent with an apocalyptic passage like Mark 13 but among other things, such a passage reminds us, and our culture, that the stakes in the Advent of Christ are exceedingly high. The Christ of God did not arrive in this world long ago to help people be a little nicer, to encourage a few weeks’ worth of charitable giving to the United Way or the local soup kitchen, or any other such short-term, local goal. No, the Christ of God came to make straight every crooked way, to right every wrong, to upend every injustice, and to reconcile all things—ALL things—to himself.
Compared to all that, all of our little Christmas lights combined really do look pretty dim after all.
Be sure to check out our 2020 Year B Advent/Christmas resource page for more sermon and worship ideas and links to many sample sermons as well. Visit us all through Advent!
Is there any significance to the rooster? In the New Testament, the Greek word for rooster crops up in only two places. The most famous instance involves Peter on the night when Jesus is arrested–all four gospels include that story. In Mark that takes place in the very next chapter. Aside from that, however, there is only one other place in the New Testament where any mention is made of a rooster, and it’s Mark 13:35. The precise Greek word in verse 35 for the rooster’s crow is found nowhere else in the Bible.
Is there a connection? Possibly. In the verses of this lection, Jesus urged Peter and the others to be vigilant, watchful, to live every moment as though it could be the last. Along the way, Jesus said that for all anyone knew, a moment of apocalyptic unveiling could happen sometime when the rooster crows at 1:30 in the morning. And maybe Peter heard all that and just maybe he did with those words what we often do: namely, he figured that if such a thing ever happened, it would be a long time off and maybe he’d not even be around anymore when the end would finally come.
But then, within maybe just 48 hours, a rooster crowed at 1:30 in the morning and the full truth of Jesus came crashing down around Peter’s ears. Peter did not need to live to see the final day of judgment. That moment, that cry of that rooster was his apocalypse, his encounter with the living God. What he perhaps thought was a long ways off when Jesus first talked about turned it out to be far closer, far more pressingly urgent than he guessed. As it turns out, any and every crying of the rooster is a moment potentially full of God.
In a sermon on this first Sunday in Advent, maybe we preachers can challenge people to ponder the ultimate moments in their own lives when the fullness of the kingdom is revealed to be closer than they think.
In one of his sermons, Fred Craddock told a story about something that happened many years ago while he was driving by himself cross-country. He had stopped at a small diner somewhere in the South to refresh himself with an early breakfast and some coffee. He had been driving through the night and now it was getting close to dawn. So before he got too sleepy, he stopped for a while.
As he waited for his breakfast order to come, Craddock spied a black man who had just come in and had sat down on a stool up by the lunch counter. The diner’s manager then began to treat the black man with a contempt that was clearly borne of deep-seated racism. The manager was rude, insulting, demeaning toward his black guest. As he sat in his booth a little ways away from the counter, Craddock wrestled with saying something to chide this manager for his shameful, racist conduct. Eventually the black man quickly slurped down some coffee and then fled the diner. Craddock meanwhile remained silent. “I didn’t say anything,” he confessed. “I quietly paid my bill, left the diner, and headed back to my car. But as I walked through the parking lot, somewhere in the distance, I heard a rooster crow.”
With that poignant, final image, Craddock evoked an entire cloud of denial, betrayal, shame, and regret. The rooster’s crow following the disciple Peter’s triple denial of Jesus has become one of the more famous images from the gospels. Of course, even so, not everyone knows it. I once heard Craddock say that one Sunday he was a guest preacher at a church and he preached that same sermon. After the service, a man came up to him in the narthex, shook Craddock’s hand vigorously, and said, “Thank you, pastor, for that powerful sermon. That really hit home! Oh, but by the way, what was that business with the rooster?”
Other resources on the CEP website:
Audio sermon by Fred Craddock (not the one referenced above): on Romans 16
Author: Stan Mast
Sometimes I scratch my head over the Lectionary choices for a particular day or season, but not today. These words from Isaiah 64 are absolutely perfect for this First Sunday of Advent.
I mean, it has all these famous verses, each of which would make for a great sermon text all by itself: verse 1, with its passionate plea, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down;” verse 4, with its staunch profession of Jewish faith, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him;” verse 6, with its rock bottom confession of total depravity, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags… like the wind our sins sweep us away;” and verse 12 with its desperate last gasp prayer, “After all this, O Lord, will you hold yourself back?”
Put them all together and you have the quintessential Advent Prayer. It has a sense of need for redemption, a feeling of unworthiness before God, a longing for God to act, and an assurance that God as Father is the Redeemer we need. And, most of all, it has this fourfold repetition of the word, “come.” “Oh, that you would come, come down, you came down, you come.” O Come, O Come, Immanuel….” Perfect!
Except that many people don’t want to hear something like this the Sunday after Thanksgiving and four weeks before Christmas. What we want is the holidays, good cheer, “a merry little Christmas.” Especially this year, a year devastated by COVID, riven by racial division, and roiled by a nasty contested election in America. What we want is a return to the Norman Rockwell Christmas, filled with comfort and joy, family and gifts, and sweet baby Jesus.
That desire for the good old days is what makes this rich dark text so perfect for our first step into Advent. It was written to people whose situation mirrors ours. Like survivors of California wildfires and Gulf Coast hurricanes, the coronavirus pandemic and the racial violence, they have lost so much of the life they had, as described in verses 10-11. These exiled Israelites look at their home country and see their “sacred cities… a desert, Jerusalem a desolation, our holy and glorious temple burned with fire….” The end of verse 11 sums it up: “all that we treasured lies in ruins.”
No wonder they yearned for God to come and set things right. We get it. What we might not get is their response to their loss, as expressed in verses 5b-7. As they recall how God acted for them in the past, they realize their own role in their ruin. “But when we continued to sin against them (God’s will and ways), you were angry.”
It’s not just that they sinned once in a while, but that they continued to sin, habitually and deeply, so that they put themselves beyond redemption. “How then can we be saved?” The images Isaiah uses to describe the depravity of Israel are stunning—we have all become unclean, like the “filthy rags” used by a woman during menstruation; we have become skeletal, like a shriveled leaf driven by the wind. No one wants to think of sin this way, but Advent is a time to take stock of who we are in our darkest selves. Indeed, we cannot utter this Advent prayer from the heart until we see our sin as they did.
In fact, they had come to the place where they felt so estranged from an angry God that they didn’t even pray. I wonder how many of our congregants, even us pastors, have come to this point in this difficult time. “No one calls on your name or strives to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.” All we can do is grumble and complain and weep.
The sense of God’s disapproval hung over Israel like a dark cloud. They knew they had sinned and they knew God was angry. Can we experience the true joy of Christmas without that knowledge? No, it’s not what we want to know, but it is what we need to know. One wonders how different this past year would have been if we had confessed our sins as individuals and as a church and as a nation. What if we had come to God and said, “Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, do not remember our sins forever?” Advent is a time to take stock of our sins and face our righteous God.
Thank God that he is more than righteous. Thank God for that little word “yet” at the beginning of verse 8. “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.” In spite of our sin and in spite of your anger, you are still our Father. Yes, we are but clay and you are the potter. You can mold us and make us any way you want. You can even break us, as you have just done. But you are not a heartless God, a perfectionist artist who simply throws away a ruined pot or a cracked cup. You are our Father and you have created us all; “we are all the work of your hand.”
We remember how your hand has been involved in our lives and in our national history: “you act on behalf of those who wait for you.” In all of history, in all the world, no other people have ever had a God like you. People worship their gods, love their gods, trust their gods, but, as Isaiah said in a withering diatribe against idols in chapter 44, “All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless….” Yahweh is different; he actually reaches down with his mighty arm and outstretched hands and acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
With that word “wait,” we have at last entered the dominant mood of Advent. This is a time of waiting, not for the holiday fun to begin, but for the coming of God into our “lonely exile here.” Many won’t feel that way, which is why you may need to spend some sermon time on that sin and anger part of this text. Once folks begin to feel that, they will be ready to beg God to come.
That’s the heart of this prayer. “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down….” Come down and shake things up, O Lord. This reference to trembling mountains in verses 1 and 3 is probably an allusion to Mt. Sinai, where God descended on that mountain in clouds and thick smoke and thunder and lightning. Isaiah prays for a theophany that will shake the nations of the world, the very enemies who have wrecked such havoc on God’s people. Before and after that theophany, God did such awesome things that the nations and Israel trembled before him.
Now, prays the Exiled People of God, do it again. Tear aside the clouds and come down in your power and majesty, your righteousness and justice, your grace and mercy. Of course, God did come down, in Christ, the personification of all God’s qualities, the incarnation of God himself. God has come down. As a result, God’s anger has been propitiated. Our sins have been expiated. Our punishment has been taken away. God’s silence has been broken.
Verse 12 was a prayer for the time before Christ, even though we might feel like praying it now. “After all this, O Lord, will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?” That was a desperate, almost angry prayer. Can’t you give us a break, O Lord, let up a little, tamp down your anger a bit. It was a prayer of people who didn’t have a clue how God would finally answer their perfect Advent prayer. “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down.”
We do know, so we can do Advent with greater patience. Or at least we should be able to wait patiently for God to come again. But the times in which we live have made us impatient and irritable and angry. So, this text is a much-needed reminder that God came in Christ and will come again.
So, wait patiently, repent deeply, come to God honestly, recall his awesome deeds, and pray fervently. “O Come, O Come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel, who wait in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appears. Rejoice, rejoice, Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.”
During this COVID induced shut down, my wife and I have watched way too much TV. We’ve become especially fond of some shows like NCIS, in which the bright, smart alecky, but dogged investigators try to solve some horrific crime. One of my favorite scenes is when the good guys have the bad guys trapped. Gibbs and crew are just outside the door of the room in which the crooks have some terrified innocent victim tied up. Then after announcing that they are there, the cops burst through the door and make everything right. The word “rend” in Isaiah 64:1 can be translated, “break down the door.” O Lord, we are imprisoned by powers and people who mean us harm. “Oh, break down the door and come to our rescue!”
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Author: Scott Hoezee
“The Lord make his face to shine upon you . . .” That’s a line from the great Aaronic Benediction originally given to Israel in Numbers 6 and it is a line with which many Christians are exceedingly familiar on account of having heard it at the end of a church service so many times. It is also an image that is the key motif or refrain of Psalm 80. (By way of full disclosure: the first seven verses of Psalm 80 were the prescribed Lectionary reading in Year A in early October of 2020. What follows is largely a repeat of what I posted then.)
Three times in this poem—verses 3, 7, and 19—the psalmist asks God to let his face shine on Israel again so they may be saved. But it’s not only a refrain but a refrain that keeps building in intensity. Verse 3 addresses simply “God” (Hebrew Elohim). Verse 7 addresses (literally) the “God of Hosts” (Hebrew Elohim sabbaoth). Finally the last verse of the psalm addresses (literally) “Yahweh, God of Hosts” (Hebrew YHWH Elohim sabbaoth). It is as though the psalm at once builds up in intensity as to the identity of this God until finally we are given no less than the specific sacred name of Israel’s one and only true God. That last verse addressed specifically to Yahweh is like the poem’s crescendo. Given how often we associate Advent with Christ as the Light of the World, you can see why this image of God’s shining face is assigned for the First Sunday of Advent in the Year B Lectionary.
Weaving through these verses is one of the more common images for Israel in the Old Testament: a vineyard of God’s own planting. Given the agricultural nature of that image, the notion of God’s face shining on Israel is most certainly one we can associate with sunlight shining on plants. And that may be a helpful way to understand the plea for God to let his face shine upon us. Again, this is such a common image used in benedictions that we maybe don’t often pause to ponder what it means. The words just kind of roll off us like the proverbial water off a duck’s back.
But when you think about it, it’s not an image most of us use anywhere else in life. We may hope for the approval of a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boss but we don’t usually ask these people to shine on us with their faces. When we get a good performance review at work with our manager or upline, we don’t typically come home and tell our spouse, “It was a good day—my manager’s face shined upon me!” You could try saying that to someone, I suppose, but my guess is you’d get a quizzical look in return.
But in the ancient world this was not an odd turn of phrase. In places where there were kings or pharaohs or other sovereigns, appearing before such a powerful figure usually meant you had to bow your head and probably keep it bowed as the sovereign considered whatever it was that brought you to meet with him or her. And the signal that your request had found favor was if the king (or whoever) raised your face to meet his face, your eyes to meet his eyes. Your countenance would meet the Majesty’s countenance and he would “shine” on you with favor. This was how you knew you would have your wish granted or your request fulfilled.
But, of course, what such shining could ever mean more than if we were talking about Almighty God shining upon you? Linking this to the image of the vineyard, it is clear that God’s shining is all about life, about growth, about flourishing. Grapes cannot grow without abundant sunshine and we cannot grow without abundant love and care from our Creator.
Of course, Psalm 80 is premised on the historical fact that Israel had failed God and so God had turned away the divine face. The vineyard was in ruins and what grapes it still produced in the wild were picked by strangers or foraged by wild pigs (a double-whammy for Israel given the prohibition to stay away from pigs). So there is the plea for God to shine with God’s face again, to reverse what had happened to Israel when God had to turn away for a time.
As Christians, we believe that God in Christ will never turn away from us again. This is the message of Advent. It is the message of also John 1: As commentator Dale Bruner always points out, you cannot underestimate the power of the present tense verb in the famous verse that says, “The Light shineS in the darkness . . .” Yes, it shines and shines and shines without ceasing. And it cannot be put out.
We should not discount the importance of living life Coram Deo, before the face of God. God is the source of our life and our salvation. And if it’s true God will not turn the light of his countenance away from us now due to the grace we have received in Jesus, we are tempted sometimes to turn our faces away from God, to try to become our own source of light. We are tempted to think we can go it alone in this world. But it’s not true. It was not true for the vineyard that was ancient Israel and it is not true for all of us who have now been grafted onto the one true Vine that just is Christ Jesus the Lord.
Even as Psalm 80 builds in intensity in its pleas for God to shine once more upon them—moving from God to the God of Hosts to the Yahweh God of Hosts—so we now address very specifically the One Jesus instructed us to call “Father.” We have been brought by grace to the climax of Psalm 80 and we never want to turn away from this source of light and life. Indeed, when the kingdom fully comes and creation is restored, we are told in Revelation that God’s new Holy City won’t need a sun to shine: the Lamb upon the throne will very simply BE the light that shines upon all and gives Life to all forever and ever.
Be sure to check out our 2020 Year B Advent/Christmas resource page for more sermon and worship ideas and links to many sample sermons as well. Visit us all through Advent!
In the very fine film The Queen, there is a scene in which the newly elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife are brought to Buckingham Palace for the new P.M. to meet with Queen Elizabeth who will formally authorize his forming a government in the Queen’s name. Mrs. Blair is no fan of the royals and so chafes a bit under the tutelage her husband and she is given by the Queen’s chief valet as he prepares Prime Minister Blair to meet with the Queen for the first time. ‘When you are in The Presence . . .” he says. Causing Mr. Blair to exclaim, “The Presence?” “Yes, that is what we call it when you are in her Majesty’s company.” They are then told to bow from the neck, to remember that it is “Ma’am as in the rhyme for ‘ham.’” And one is never to turn one’s back to the Queen, which in the scene makes for a bit of comedy as they eventually back out of the room literally walking backwards. You can watch the scene here—it’s worth watching!
To many of us it all seems rather elaborate. We’re too democratic in our thinking, too egalitarian to think such a fuss should be made over just another person. But throughout most of history—and certainly back in ancient Israel’s time—such things were common when meeting a king or queen or other powerful figure, and for Israel such things were to be magnified a thousand-fold when it came to pondering appearing before God’s face.
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Author: Doug Bratt
This Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s “twin themes” of Paul’s thanksgiving and the return of Jesus Christ may seem particularly appropriate this week. After all, this first Sunday in Advent falls just three days after (U.S.) Americans’ celebration of Thanksgiving and at the beginning of the season of heightened anticipation of Jesus’ second coming.
However, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 also contains what may feel like a strange beginning for Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Of course, it wouldn’t be a particularly strange way to begin most communications. 1 Corinthians 1 begins, after all, with (for its day) a fairly typical greeting. What’s more, many of us are also accustomed to beginning our various communications with some thanksgiving and good news.
What makes this text feel at least a bit out of place is the sharp contrast between the tone with which Paul follows this complimentary beginning and this Lesson’s six verses. After all, throughout the rest of 1 Corinthians, the apostle goes on from this text to deal extensively with problems in the Corinthian church that include sexual immorality, lawsuits, marriage, eating food sacrificed to idols, tensions surrounding worship and women’s roles in the church, as well as gift, talents and the resurrection.
So those who proclaim this text might ask our hearers and ourselves just what’s going on in our text. Is Paul trying to “butter up” Corinth’s Christians with compliments before hitting them with the rest of his letter’s criticism? Or is this perhaps a rhetorical strategy by which he tries to gain the Corinthians’ confidence before he clobbers them with his deep concerns for and about them?
Those who proclaim it might note how 1 Corinthians’ complimentary beginning actually lays a solid theological foundation for the rest of the book. Paul, after all, relentlessly grounds all of his compliments in the gracious work of God. In fact, God is either the subject of or an active participant in every sentence, verse and assertion that Paul makes in this Lesson.
So while the apostle compliments his Corinthian readers throughout this text, he’s actually giving all the praise for that for which he gives thanks to God. What’s more, when he later sometimes harshly criticizes them, he also grounds that in his understanding of who God is and what God desires.
Paul begins to offer this Lesson’s praise by noting that he’s an apostle. He’s a herald of God’s gospel for not just the Corinthians but also the whole world. Yet the apostle insists that it’s not like he chose that career. He wasn’t the first to dive into God’s “volunteer pool.” In fact, it’s not even like Paul had any choice in the matter of becoming or being an apostle.
He was, in fact, doing all he could to obliterate Christ Jesus’ Church when God knocked him off his high horse and into the kingdom of God. When Paul refers in verse 1 to being “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,” he means that God did all the hard work and heavy lifting. Yet Paul is also quick to remind his letter’s first hearers that it’s not just he whom God has graciously called. God has also called his Corinthian audience.
Yet God hasn’t just called the Corinthian. Paul also reminds his first hearers that God has also “sanctified [them] in Christ Jesus and called [them] to be holy” (2). So the Corinthians are those whom God both calls and equips to become more and more like their Savior.
No matter with what he follows this thankful opening, Paul seems to want to begin his letter by asserting that God is busy transforming members of the Corinthian church into people who increasingly resemble the Lord Jesus Christ on whose name they call.
So Paul will go on in this letter to grieve and scold those Corinthians for their deeply unholy relationships and worship practices, among other things. Yet he prefaces all of that by reminding them that God is making them more and more holy, more and more like Jesus Christ.
So the rest of the letter’s description of the Corinthians’ unrighteousness stands in almost shocking contrast to both God’s righteousness and the righteousness for which God is fully equipping them. It implies that Corinth’s Christians have no excuse for their disobedience that Paul later describes.
Yet even when Paul goes on to describe some of the ways the Corinthians are displaying the Spirit’s empowerment of them, he’s still careful to give all the credit for it to God. He thanks God for his Corinthian readers, but also insists that for what’s he so thankful is the result of the grace God has given them in Christ Jesus.
So it’s almost as if the apostle reminds them that Corinth’s Christians are in some ways praiseworthy because God has graciously made them praiseworthy. Without God’s redeeming and equipping work, the Corinthians to whom Paul writes are like beggars.
God, however, has empowered them to be rich in talent. So the Corinthians speak well and know a great deal not because of some virtue of their own, but because God has graced them with those great gifts. Those Corinthians, in fact, don’t lack any spiritual gifts (7).
The Spirit has equipped them with everything they need to be holy, honor God and bless their neighbors. So things like their marital unfaithfulness and lawsuits against each other don’t arise out of their lack of some spiritual gift from God. The Corinthians’ sins arise out of their failure to use the gifts with which God has graced them.
In fact, Paul essentially moves toward closing this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson by asserting that the Corinthians have everything they need to be faithful to both God and each other until Christ returns from the heavenly realm. God, the apostle insists in verse 8, “will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here, then, is a reminder of the church and world’s best and only hope on this first Sunday in 2020’s among strangest of Advents. Christians’ faithfulness doesn’t depend on us. God promises to keep us strong and faithful until Jesus returns.
This is a hopeful message for all of Jesus’ followers who feel beleaguered during this season of expectant Advent waiting. So much challenges our faithfulness: a global pandemic, racial injustice and inequality, as well as political turmoil and unrest. It all adds up to make what sometimes feels like a very long wait for the Jesus who came as a baby to a manger in Bethlehem to come again as Judge and King of the whole world.
Can we stay faithful as we continue to wait? Can Christians stay faithful even if we must wait until perhaps Easter, Pentecost or even next Thanksgiving for a COVID vaccine? Thankfully, the answer doesn’t depend on our endurance or us. It depends on the God who has given us everything we need to wait in faith and hope until not just a vaccine is developed and distributed, but also “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (9).
Christians who “eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (7) at his return may resonate with the feelings of Charlotte Web’s Wilbur. As he waits for Charlotte’s eggs to hatch from their sack, E.B. White writes, “Nothing in life was so important as this small round object — nothing else mattered. Patiently he awaited the end of winter and the coming of the little spiders. Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.”