Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent: First Sunday

Luke 21:25-36
"...Be on the alert, praying at all times for strength.."

Before we get to words of the babe and swaddling clothes, we begin this Advent season with words like helpless and roaring and terror and the passing of heaven and earth echoing from this apocalyptic passage.  Luke offers not an invitation but a command to pray, and so I do:
   Holy Jesus, Son of the Most Holy God,
   We are not worthy to call you Lord.  We paint you in pastel robes with a Mona Lisa smile.  We cover up the stern words of the Sermon on the Mount with layers of pious decoupage.  We imagine that you must forgive us everything and that nothing will be required of us.  We make you into our own personal Jesus.
   Yet you are the Son of Man.  You rule over the black holes of space and every mind that thinks "I am."  No secret prison is unknown to you.  No smug hacker can hide from your gaze.  You gave up paradise for obedience and comfort for a cross.  You made forgiveness of sins as real as bread and wine.  In your presence, the arrow of time is broken and all is calm.  Without you, our being falls away into nothingness.
   You call us to have eyes to see God in this world and to move our hands to caress the weary, the frightened and the forgotten in your name.

Prayer: Forgive our blindness to the signs of our times.  Burn away our sloth.  Rouse us from hopelessness.  Show us our strength.  Open our eyes to welcome you in this season with fear and trembling, with dread and holy awe.  For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, though heaven and earth pass away.

Timothy D. Lincoln
Associate Dean for Seminary Effectiveness and Director of the Stitt Library


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