Hope is in the Aire

Scripture: Luke 21:25-36

Let us pray:

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

Advent is truly a time of waiting. It is a thin space where we are reminded to keep watch, to look for Christ’s coming, in more than one sense. Today’s lectionary readings are about the second coming of Christ. Traditionally, these readings point not to the coming of Christ at Christmas, but the coming of Christ in all his risen glory. Every year we come to these texts, sometimes eagerly because we know Christmas is near, but then we read these and realize the coming being referred to is quite different than what we expect. Why do we have to go through this part to get to the Christmassy-feeling parts? These ones are a little … uncomfortable, aren’t they?

Traditionally, the Second Coming of Christ will hail the final and ultimate reality of the Kingdom of God on Earth…some have called it the “End Times.” But is it, really? Jill Duffield of the Presbyterian Outlook writes,

“What do I need to hear from Jeremiah, Paul and the Gospel of Luke? I need a word of hope. I need faith, that assurance of things not yet seen. I need to hear of justice and safety, love and joy, new life and the nearness of God to bolster my faith.”[1]

I echo her longing; for many this time of year can be hard with associative memories about what has happened in the past around this time, others just feel a lingering sadness of what has past or what might have been but isn’t. Regardless of how the frenzy of the season or the emotions embedded in it affects us, there is still something about it that can be met with hope. Jill goes on to say,

“I do not hear fear and foreboding, so much as a longing for reunion between God and all creation. Upon closer reading, these texts engender not trembling in the face of destruction, but excitement at promise of glorious new life in restored, reconciled community.”[2]

She continues:

“Jürgen Moltmann, in his book, The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology, writes that Christian eschatology is not about “the end.” He says, “On the contrary, what it is about is the new creation of all things.” He goes on to note, “What it is I do not know, but I have confidence that the new beginning will find me and raise me up.”

Christian eschatology, Moltmann reminds us is about hope in God: “God’s glory … the new creation of the world … the history of human beings in the earth … the resurrection and eternal life of human people.””[3]

Someone once asked, “Does God still speak today? Are we still asked to keep waiting for the return of Christ? Will he come? How do we know that God is faithful still, in this, God’s Creation, and at this time in the history of the world? Is the story still unfolding?” Yes. God still speaks, and Christ comes to each of us. Christ comes, eternally into our very being; Christ comes when we open wide the doors of our hearts and invite him in.

Advent, then, is to watch and wait for his coming: an active waiting, always aware, always watching lest one glimpse of a heavenly moment in the midst of our daily life goes by and we miss it; not only in the season of Advent but in every season of our life.

Pray that we do not miss his coming, in whatever guise it may be, whether it be the mountain’s witness or an evergreen tree still pointing its great green bows to Heaven in the midst of an otherwise barren orchard. It may be in your fellowship and study together, or in worship each week. It may be in service to others. It may be a combination of all of these. Christ is the eternally coming one, and we have been invited to watch for him and be ready to receive him when he comes, ready to welcome him and serve him in all things.

That is not to say we are never faced with winter-like times in our lives that mirror the longest nights of the year; but are we able to wait it out for the coming day?  Even if the Light feels far-off in the distance, like the wintry sun glimmering wanly in the sky, can we draw it in like a candle flame cupped in our hand, letting its small flickering light kindle hope in a small sphere of influence all around us? Oh yes, dear God, we need hope!

My prayer for all of us is this: May the candle flame of God’s vision and purpose illumine our dark days, bringing to our hearts the time and space we need to kindle our own inner embers back into the bright flame of hope that waits for the coming of the Light. For it is through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, that our embers truly catch and glow. And when our embers glow, we in turn are able to light the way for others.

May all glory be unto the One for whom we wait, the One who lived, died, and rose again for us, even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.

 

Question for Reflection

Even in the midst of trouble and turmoil, God allows us glimpses of the kingdom to come. What signs of promise do you see that bolster your hope in a new heaven and a new earth?

Household Prayer: Morning

Thank you for this new day to sing your praise
and watch for signs of your kingdom.
By your Spirit, let me abound in love for you and your children, that in living and loving I may point to your coming reign.
In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Thank you for the signs of your coming reign,
and for the power of your saving love.
Bless all those whom I met today,
and strengthen their hope in your power and grace. Now as I close my eyes, I relinquish all anxieties and fears,
trusting in your providence and mercy. Amen.

 

[1] Jill Duffield, “Looking into the Lectionary – 1st Sunday of Advent,” accessed November 30, 2018, http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102135377571&ca=9b099827-ecc9-447f-91a1-f10a53e13938.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

About Scottrick

Parent ~ Pastor ~ Poet ~ Author
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