Monday, November 29th
Light the candle and pray: Jesus light of the world, shine into our darkness and be our hope!
Pray: Psalm 147: 1-9
Read: Genesis 1-2:3
Reflection: Angie Burke
Hi Grace and Mercy!
So glad to be participating in another advent season with you. Last year, we talked a lot about the sort of past/present/future nature of advent. The way that this time of preparation touches eternity.
This year, something I’m thinking about and contemplating is the idea of the delayed reveal. Remembering Christ’s first coming reminds us of his second coming. The thing we watch, wait and work and pray for. This week of Advent we focus on hope.
That Christ is coming again is something the global and historic Christian church has been waiting on and hoping towards for 2,000 years. This, the Return of the King is so big of a hope, I think we don’t always know how to hold it. But within that big storyline of waiting and struggling with the wait and with our hope for this big return - we face hundreds, thousands, of microcosms of that struggle in our smaller hopes and our smaller wait. There are so many things we’ve prayed together, as a community, and things we haven’t, that make up these smaller storylines under the umbrella of that bigger storyline. There are broken things that we long to see repaired, that we pray, and wait, and hope will be redeemed. The pain of hoping and waiting for redemption in our relationships, and families, and institutions, and our own hearts are staggering.
In 2nd Peter, Peter addresses the accusation that Jesus has failed to return. When sin and evil and oppression and corruption are so palpable, and present - and these things are ongoing - and we’re still waiting for the restoration of all things? Hope can waiver. Peter addresses the early church by calling them to remember what God has already done. God intervened in creation, and in the flood, and that on the matter of the seemingly delayed second coming:
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” -2 Peter 3:8-9
Last year we contemplated the idea of time - God isn’t bound by chronological time, the framework we live in. So - what seems like an excruciatingly long time to us, like a delay, might be something different when viewed outside of our chronological framework. We’re also reminded, right there, of God’s character. In Exodus 34:6-7 God describes Himself as a “God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.”
With this in mind - what if what seems like a delay is not an accident? What if it is patience towards us, that actually reflects the character of God?
I’d like to offer that idea for us to contemplate as we wrestle with maintaining hope in the waiting. Hope in the waiting for Christ’s return, but also hope in the waiting for other areas where we long for healing, or restoration, or resurrection. What if the answer to our prayers that seem delayed is connected to the patient love and character of God?
Sing: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”