Loving Well- An Advent Reflection
“But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” ~Mark 13:24-25
Something seems a little off about the Gospel reading in the lectionary calendar for the week of December 3rd. Isn’t this Advent? Isn’t there supposed to be a message about HOPE- about the promise of a Messiah? Where are the angels foretelling of the Christ Child? Instead, we read Jesus’s words related to desolation and destruction…
Lest we run the risk of proof-texting; that is, taking a verse or set of verses out of context to suit our own agendas, I implore you to keep reading! In verse 31 of this same chapter, Jesus informs his listeners that Heaven and earth will pass away, but that his words will never pass away. God’s promises to remain with us through all of life’s toils and troubles is a message that has never been dismissed by God. Advent and Christmas are all about acknowledging the promise of Immanuel, “God with Us.”
If we keep reading until the end of the lectionary reading for December 3, we read Jesus’s message to keep alert, keep awake, stay on guard (verses 32-37). “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Many people throughout history, some with nefarious intent but many quite benign, have gone to great lengths in order to pinpoint the exact moment that Jesus will return. They seem to have forgotten about verse 32- NO ONE KNOWS! Instead, we are called to be vigilant and be ready. I wonder if, perhaps, instead of waiting anxiously for a particular day which may or may not happen in our lifetime- if we might do better to assume that day has already come. How would we live our lives if we seriously thought that Jesus had already returned- in YOU and in me and in the grouchy neighbor down the street and in the unpopular kid at school and in the poorly-behaved teenage girl at youth group? When Jesus left his disciples to return to Heaven he told them that they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit (on the day of Pentecost) and that they should love one another just as they have been loved by Jesus. We have been given the key to Jesus’s return, friends- LOVE WELL!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
I hope you will join us in Kansas City in 2019 as we journey together toward what it means to LOVE WELL.