Two thousand years of wandering down the corridor of history and things are looking a little dilapidated. We look out the window and see a climate that is less predictable, in some cases best described as extreme. We see a global economy that has best looked like a poker game where none of the big name players had the sense to fold their cards and walk a way...and realize it wasn't just money, it was lives. As the gap between rich and poor widens, the middle class vanishes, slipping way, and the chasm widens even further. Social well-fare by government and society, taking care of the least, is now dog eat dog, every man for himself. What was once short term unemployment has become a constant way of life for many. Oppressive, dictatorial political regimes can no longer control the message in cyberspace,in a internet connected world. The middle ground of level headed, hospitable and open-table conversation has been lost in the polarization of left and right, liberal and conservative...democrat and republican. And the west continues to try and preserve the status quo, to maintain it's deserved life style...it grows increasing more blind to third world poverty. The so called dark continent becomes darker only because we have turned the lights out. In the world of religion there have been some break through, but still there can only be one that is right, and the rest wrong. As the church in many places shrinks it has the distorted perception it is being persecuted by the secular world.
So on the threshold of Advent 2011 again humanity waits, and is more desperate than ever for some kind of divine intervention.
We want a divine Mr. Fix It, some one who can do an extreme make over, some one who can do an extreme renovation. We want divine business administrator who can wave a wand and generate jobs, and at the snap of a finger...make money. We want a kind of divine farmer whose good a building fences keep " us " on the greener side of the fence...and everyone else over there. We want a God that's like us, and likes what we like. And well, we want a savior that is more of a retirement planner that can guarantee a reservation in an all inclusive resort when time on earth winds down to nothing.
Again, as every christmas, Christians want everything except...Jesus.
Maybe we're asking for something Jesus never really offered? Maybe, we just didn't get Jesus? We, as humanity were asking for one thing...a savior, a divine Mr. Fix It...and Jesus offered something just too profoundly redemptive beyond our imagination. In John's gospel it say's, Jesus pitched his tent, moved into our neighborhood...into the midst of humanity. He didn't move in with them, the others or just " like " us...he moved into the reality of all humanity, all its diversity, and beauty. Jesus embraced it " all "...he became one of " Us " all of us. Emmanuel, " God with us."
In his divinity, this God-man gravitated towards the oppressed, the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, the sick, the sinner, the widow and orphan...it's because it's the reality of what God is, " compassion and justice." The arc of this God, who Jesus described as " Love " has always bent towards compassion and justice. But that is not to say Jesus did not engage the wealthy, and the middle class. He erased borders, boundaries and knocked down fences to where we could see the image of God in each other.
It was here in this messed up world in the midst of poverty, oppression, war, the empire selling it's story of prosperity and security...where we kept asking and waiting for a Messiah. Fix the mess, put the people we like, and the people like us in charge...and affirm " our " religion and we'll be happy. And Jesus had the nerve to say " you can't mark the time on a calendar; you can't say it's over there or over here...because " it's " here among you...it's in your midst."
" It ", was the " Kingdom " this wild scandalous redemptive place the blew the mind of humanity. It was world so unlike ours, it was the world upside down...or really " right side up. The manifesto of the Kingdom could be summed up in the opening of his journey in which he shared on the side of a hill. For the most part we have avoided it like the plague, or have reduced to mere spirituality that we light now and then like incense only to snuff it out should we think to deeply about it.
The Kingdom was where the last would be first, the hungry would be fed, the oppressed would have a voice, the widow and orphan taken care of, debts forgiven, swords and weapons turned into farming tools, loving your enemies, the prodigal sons and daughters would come home, it wouldn't matter where you worshipped...church, temple, mosque, synagogue or mountain, country and politics didn't matter...it was how big is your humanity. It really was about how much you love God and your neighbor...this where what it meant to be human hung in balance.
Jesus, the God-man saw everything, and lived life differently...he was the reality of what happens when divinity and humanity merge. It's is not a cosmic collision of destruction of judgement and violence. It is an embrace of divine love when heaven comes to earth...when a new earth, a new creation comes into being. Jesus saw that it could be here now, that it was in fact among us, in our midst...if we had the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
As quickly as he came, his message was to dangerous, to wild, and crazy...we killed the messenger.
This Advent I am focusing on " Emmanuel " this God that is with us...this Jesus that was one of us. But more this world that consumed his imagination, his words and his life. But more than that, he caught glimpses of its beauty and reality among us.
I believe more than ever that Kingdom is here. And if we dared imagined, and built it as Jesus saw it we could see the fullness of all humanity and new world...a new creation. Dare we just imagine this christmas...imagine and live profoundly differently.
Doh! thanks for the heads-up Jeremy...here's the links to the rest of the folks that were involved in the Advent Snchroblog...
A few days ago Christine Sine invited people to join us for Advent beginning with a synchroblog November 23rd and moving through Advent with daily reflections drawn both from these and other contributions. Here are the first of those links which will be reposted on her blog together with other contributions throughout the Advent season. Enjoy!
- Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – Expect the Unexpected
- Sarah Styles Bessey at Emerging Mummy – In Which I’m Expecting Something from Advent
- Miz Melly at Perchance to Dream – Parousia
- Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in my Head – Present, Humble, Vulnerable
- David Perry at Visual Theology – Advent As A Mirror of Possibility
- Christine Sine at Godspace – Jesus Is Coming What Do We Expect?
- Liz VerHage at Living Theology
- Sally Coleman at Sally’s Journey – Come Spirit of Advent
- Glenn Hager – Antithetical Advent
- Tammy Carter at Blessing The Beloved – His Gift … the way of escape!
- Ellen Haroutunian – Remember Our Story
- Carol Kuniholm at Words Half Heard – What I’m Waiting For
- Mihee Kim-Kort – Advent Expectations: Keep Awake
- Wendy McCaig – We’re Expecting A Baby
- John Reid at Blog One Another – Undiscovered Advent: The Second Coming of Christ
- Dave Wainscott – For Advent I’m Expecting What I Desire and What I Deserve
- David Henson – Reflections on the Second Sunday of Advent
- Jeremy Myers - Jesus is Reurning Today
Make sure to visit, read and engage in the conversation...some really thought-filled and provocative musings.