Prepare to Listen. As you light the 1st purple candle, pray: Restore our fortunes, O Lord.
Prayerfully Read Mark 13:24-31
24‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.” This is a sight followers of Jesus long for and speculate over, sometimes rather wildly. But we often fail to pay attention to the first word: then. Something happens before Christ’s coming that isn’t what we long for. Suffering, a darkened sun and moon, falling stars, a shaking of the powers of heaven and then. Jesus borrowed traditional words from the prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel) to symbolically describe God’s judgment on the world.
But, you may protest, this is Advent, a time to prepare for the joyous occasion of Christ’s birth, surely not a time for doom and gloom. First, Christ’s coming is about judgment on a world that has ignored God’s agenda and demands replacing them with their own. God’s judgment that will bring healing, restoring hope to those who are deprived and oppressed because of the injustices perpetrated by those in power, be they religious or political. Second, today, especially today with the devastation caused by a global pandemic, Jesus’ words remind us that bad things will happen, even to his own. We should expect them and endure them in hope, the hope of the then. We keep hope alive because we know Christ will come with great power and glory, after we’ve endured. Then they shall see.
What caught your attention as you read these verses? Think about that and let it sink into your heart.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, I know it’s easy to get side-tracked and fail to stay alert as I wait for you to come in glory to restore the world in justice and righteousness. Help me wait patiently and hopefully, discerning what is and what isn’t of and for you. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world waiting in hope for the then.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.