Advent: HOPE

This week's Advent theme is HOPE.  

In light of this week's tragic news events the lessons I've been learning this week on this topic sit very relevant in my heart, mind and soul.

What does hope mean, in a world of darkness?

What is the purpose of the body of Christ in this age?

Should fear, rule and reign over our hearts?

My reflections on those questions are being answered for me by these thoughts:

  • There is nothing new under the sun. 
  • Christian Hope is not wishful thinking.
  • Christ's Kingdom is not of this world. 
  • We are representatives of His Kingdom here on earth.
 There is nothing new under the Sun
I've been reading, Seeking God, by Esther de Waal this week.  She was discussing how the Rule of St. Benedict was established during the age of the barbarians.  Barbarians from the north were raiding and destroying the known civilized world.  As I reflected on it, I recognized that terrorism is nothing new to the human story.  But neither is the seeking of God, by His people.

Christian Hope is Not Wishful Thinking
Our Lectionary readings at church this week covered the idea of Christ's Coming the second time:

Luke 21:25-36
 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

My pastor reminded us that in the midst of the chaos of this world, we can lift up our heads in hope and confidence, because we do know the ending of this story.  REDEMPTION is what God is up to in this world.

Christ's Kingdom is NOT of this world 
This week, too, I reflected upon Christ before Pilate, answering the question - are you the King of the Jews?

Jesus' response, was that His Kingdom was not of this world.  Jesus was very much in the world and His life was definitely affected by the world, however, He was keenly aware that His story was not written by the world.

We are representatives of His Kingdom here on earth 
All these truths brought me back to the question, then what is our place in this world? Do we need to be given to fear? Because if you spend five minutes watching the news that is where you can easily be led.

Personally, this Advent season is leading me to a new reflection: of Christ returning as King.  I've never experienced Christmas reflecting on this, I've only reflected on it through the eyes of the first Christmas.  However, there is a sweetness to this season, reflecting on the fact that He will return again as King.

In light of all of this: 
Because there is nothing new under the sun, I am aware that terror exists in our world, but I also am aware that Christ is fully confident in the role of His Bride, the Church.  We have been invited to place our Hope (confidence) in Him and what He is up to in our lives.  We've also been invited to fully live in this world and have our lives fully affected by this world, but to also be confident that we are part of another Kingdom.  Finally, we've been invited to walk out His Kingdom, here on earth, in the midst of darkness.  To be the LIGHT in a dark world.

May we LOVE our enemies.
May we pray for those who PERSECUTE us and others.
May we LOVE our families and our children.
May we SERVE our neighbors.

Lastly, I feel this Psalm provides a fitting direction to direct our hearts, souls and minds in this season:
 Psalm 24
 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.[a]
They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

May we lift up our heads, our King is coming.  May His GLORY be reflected in our lives, even today.

Advent: Hope

In Christ,

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