Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Peace be with you!
There is a certain level of anxiety that comes with waiting. Will my new son or daughter be born healthy? Will my husband or my wife make it through surgery? Will the builder make the deadline, or will the bank have to re-evaluate my construction loan? Will my son or daughter ever be healthy enough to escape the intensive care unit? Will my friend wake up from his/her coma? Will I achieve my life long dream – [whatever “it” is]? Will the government approve my request for public assistance? Or will [whatever “it” is] ever happen? It could be as simple as waiting for a friend to show up and as intense as waiting for a jury’s verdict.
The not knowing what will happen causes us to have anxiety, because we are so use to knowing what is to come. The day I defended my MA thesis was nerve racking for me. I had to defend my work in front of two professors who I respected whole hearty and felt unworthy to present before. After my defense, I was asked to leave the room for ten minutes while my thesis advisors deliberated. I remember driving my electric wheelchair in a figure eight in front of the library doors and having a friend come out to calm my nerves. After two years of studies and a year of writing, my fate was left up to those two professors. Although I was asked to reword a few topics, I was grated the pass to graduation. While I was relieved I got a pass, the ten minutes of waiting were nerve wracking, which has really never left me, especially now as I attempt to prove myself as a New Testament scholar.
Waiting is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you do not know what is going to happen or what the outcome will be. Sure, you may have an idea of what is going to happen and have an ideal outcome.
So here we are with Prophet Isaiah speaking to the Lord about forgiving the Israelites. By doing so, Prophet Isaiah reminds the Lord that we are his clay to scalp into his image (Isaiah 64:8). We are all children of God (Isaiah 64:9) as Prophet Isaiah reminds the Lord as well as the Israelites and us. God forms us in his own image.
Prophet Isaiah is reminding God of his ways and reminding us of how we are to live in order to honor God. We are being reminded of our relationship with God the Father and his love for us. We are created in his likeness, and we are his people – all his people.
Prophet Isaiah also has news of the Lord coming to meet Israelites (and us) in the world. We need to be alert and be prepared for his arrival by following the Ten Commandments and honor his ways. Each individual honors the Lord in different ways. One person maybe honor God by being a pastor, while another person may honor God by being a nurse, a newspaper seller, a politician, or [whatever “it” is] you do to bring the good news to others. When we live out our calling(s), we bring honor to the Lord.
While the Israelites were waiting for the first coming of the Lord, we, as Christians, are waiting for Jesus Christ to come again. The Advent season helps us to remember the promise of Jesus’ return to judge the living and the dead. The season of waiting is where we come to appreciate the Jews’ anticipation of the coming of the Lord and what it was like not to understand how the Lord was going to fulfill his promise. As Christians, (in my opinion at least) it is easy for us to skip a few and end up at Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection that we miss the anticipation in not knowing. Or do we experience anticipation of our own?
In Mark 13:24-37, we read about Jesus’ second coming. Jesus is talking in parables to his disciples in this section. Just a few verses before this parable Jesus warns the disciples about false messiahs who will “come in the Lord’s name” (Mark 13:22-24). But here Jesus is stressing the importance of keeping and being alert, because he will be back (Mark 13:33, 35, 36). Jesus is saying I maybe leaving for now, but I’ll be back as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say. We cannot forget what Jesus did for us on the cross, because he keeps on doing it and will have the final say.
Although we may know how the Christmas story, we do not know when, how, where, why, etc Jesus’ second coming. As the Jews had anticipation as to when, how, where, why, etc the Messiah was going to come, we, as Christians, have the same anticipation of Jesus’ second coming.
As I reflect on Jesus’ second coming, I cannot help to ask the when, how, where, why, etc questions. Are we almost to the end? Will I go to heaven? Have I made the Lord glad in my answer to his calling? I invite you to experience the anticipation the Jews/Israelites felt when they were waiting for the coming Messiah.
Another way to look at it is to forget the ending of the story for a moment and dwell on what it would be like to experience the wonderment of not knowing the when, how, where, why, etc answers. Try to hear the Christmas story for the first time. Walk with Mary and Elizabeth as they carry their sons. Feel their amazement, fear, joy, love, and anticipation as they begin the story that would change our lives forever.
Come, O Lord, come.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the opportunity to join in the anticipation of waiting for Jesus to come again. Help us to forget the ending of the Christmas story in order to feel Mary’s and Elizabeth’s raw emotion as the impossible happens. Thank you for inviting us to experience the Christmas story. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. How do you honor God?
2. How are you going to relive the Christmas story?
3. Where are do you feel God is calling you?