It was December 2nd. The first Sunday of December. The 1st Sunday in Advent (the 4 Sundays before Christmas is celebrated, a distinct time of waiting, expectation and preparation — for God’s in-breaking into our lives in new & unexpected ways). And we gathered around the table, and prayed — while expecting some more would join before we finished.
After “Amen” we began checking-in. Sharing if we had done the homework (a few folks said no) — but some had read, and some had thought a little about it and so we still were able to check in with this idea of “enough” — and we were able to have honest conversation. Conversation that engaged how disappointing and vulnerable it is to consider the places where we feel we are not enough; conversation which asked who gets to decide “enough” — is it God, or is it us?; conversation that named the need for us to let go of our own ideals and expectations of enough and to accept God’s instead. And in only the briefest moment we mentioned (or was it just me?) how the story goes that we give what (little – insufficient – not enough) we have, offering it to God & God takes it, breaks it, blesses it and uses it for exactly what it shouldn’t be able to do. That’s grace — that’s God — that’s powerful! But let’s be honest, do we really want God to take and to break that which we offer (especially when that which we offer is our very selves)? That seems to be the deal, that there is a breaking involved in the blessing…it’s what Christ has (always) showed us & every time we celebrate communion we remember this in the breaking of the bread (in the sharing of Christ’s body — broken for us!).
And following this we turned to scripture, we turned to Luke 21:25-36 (one of the lectionary selections for the day). We heard the scripture read aloud only once, held silence and then began speaking. We spoke of this being a more apocalyptic text, and speaking more of spiritual than physical realities. We spoke of the ability of this text to seemingly reference realities in every age — wars and violence. We spoke about the need to be watchful/aware. But we didn’t have too much time to think about the text, to talk about the text, to notice where the Holy Spirit was inviting us to look and listen harder. This is one of the texts that begins the Advent Season this year, this idea of the whole world knowing and seeing the coming of the Son of Man; this idea that all creation is in total understanding of when God is coming. So I find the homework to be a rather fitting two questions for us to consider:
- First, are we there yet? Are we at the time for which this text is speaking? Are the signs present? Is the Son of Man coming – right now? So — are we there yet? (take another look at verses 25-27)
- And second, how do we wait for the time to come? How are we preparing? How are we watching? (take another look at verses 34-36).
Y’all we are in the season of preparation, the season of expectation, the season of waiting — all for the in-breaking of Hope — of Peace — of Joy — of Love — of God! It will not be expected but we are called to be waiting, to be preparing — to be excited about what God is up to and how God will show up (and change everything!). Are we there yet? Are we ready? I for one can’t wait to hear what all y’all think; I can’t wait to be blessed by what the Holy Spirit will speak through each of y’all during this week.
In Christ & waiting ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater