146-147; 111, 112, 113
Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8 1 Thess. 5:1-11 Luke 21:5-19
Once again advent comes in like a lion, not a lamb. Our desire to set our eyes on the first coming of Christ – with shepherds, wise men, a magical star, and kind animals in a shed – is interrupted by foreshadowings of the second coming of Christ – with rubble, earthquakes, and fires.
If we look around us and see signs of the end, we are warned by Jesus not to believe our own eyes. No one knows when the end will come and there’s no use in guessing. If world events lead us to think we are on the slippery slope to Armageddon, then we will be caught between two temptations. Either we will despair and give up trying to make things better, or we will look around for saviors who will be all too willing to exploit our desperation in service of their own ends.
Jesus gives us a third option: “This will be your opportunity to bear witness.” Whether or not the end is at hand, our calling is the same: show the ways of Jesus to the world. Witness to possibility and hope and imagination. And, as Paul reminds us, “encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” This is the invitation of Advent, this is hope in the rubble, this is the magical star shining over a world ready to be redeemed.
Come, true savior, with peace and hope and promise, and ready us to rise to the opportunity to bear witness.
Listen to Scott read his Advent meditation and prayer: