Are You Ready for….What are we getting ready for?
Devotional & Discussion Thought of the Day:
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Matthew 24:37-39 (NLT)
50 Just as God’s name is holy in itself and yet we pray that it may be holy among us, so also his kingdom comes of itself without our prayer and yet we pray that it may come to us. That is, we ask that it may prevail among us and with us, so that we may be a part of those among whom his name is hallowed and his kingdom flourishes.
51 What is the kingdom of God? Answer: Simply what we learned in the Creed, namely, that God sent his Son, Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil and to bring us to himself and rule us as a king of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience. To this end he also gave his Holy Spirit to teach us this through his holy Word and to enlighten and strengthen us in faith by his power.
This word of promise and joy thus turns into a question for us, making visible the challenge and meaning of Advent. Only when all flesh beholds God is his coming complete; the new heavens and the new earth can come about only when available to all. This word constantly intends to open the heart of Christianity, indeed our own heart. Adveniat Kingdom tuum [thy Kingdom come]—this plea of Advent, put on our lips by the Lord himself, is prayed by us correctly only if we allow it to transform us; if we let it open us up to all of God’s children, all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
As many of us prepare for Christmas, for the parties, as we gather gifts, even as we get ready for the abundance of church services over the next week, we may hear the following question.
Are you ready?
We get nervous, for most of the time we are not ready, otherwise the concerned friend wouldn’t wouldn’t recognize the fear and anxiety that has gripped our very lives.
The problem is we are getting ready for the wrong thing. We are, like one Ebenezer Scrooge, trying to deal with Christmas past and Christmas present, and not looking not to Christmas future, but the Advent of Christ in our future. We are like the people in Noah’s day, not always doing things outside of “normal” life, but not questioning what normal life should be.
How many of us have given any thought to Christ’s return since Thanksgiving? How many of us have seriously considered whether our lives are being focused on that time, of the Christ-mass – the gathering of Christ that will happen on that day.
We can’t run around to prepare for it. We can’t check out all the stores; we can’t do anything special to prepare for His coming. Matter of fact, if we are trying to do something special, we’re are even less prepared. For being ready for Christ’s second coming isn’t a special event, it is life itself. Life abiding in the presence of God. Life being comforted and lifted up by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Life as Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI, described so well in the green quote above. A desire for God’s kingdom, His reign to come to all, a prayer of desire and desperation, a prayer born in brokenness. Our individual brokenness, our communal brokenness.
Luther agrees of course, as he notes that the reason Christ came was to bring us to the Father. And the Holy Spirit is given to reveal this to us, and support us in the life that is until we see God face to glorious Face.
When we consider the normal life in view of Jesus’ return, in view of death for those who are not here, we end up depending on God in a far different way. Our life is transformed by the His love, as we look forward with expectation, as we look forward with joy, as we trust in Him, and we are filled with life.
This is why we ask are we ready. Not to stress us more, but to cause us to be still, and know He is God, that He is our refuge, our sanctuary, our life.
May your normal life find you not just ready, but desiring His return, and the homecoming that follows. AMEN †
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (pp. 426–427). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 399). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Posted on December 19, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions and tagged Abiding in Christ, Advent, Eschatology, God's promise, Martin Luther, Pope Benedict XVI, salvation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.