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Archive for November, 2015

Tomorrow

There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.  On the earth, there will be dismay among nations in their confusion over the roaring of the sea and surging waves.  The planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken, causing people to faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world.  Then they will see the Human One coming on a cloud with power and great splendor.  (Luke 21:25-27 CEB)

Wow!  This sounds like it’s happening now!  During our time!  All we have to do is look around us!  I mean, there are threats of more violence, terrorist attacks, murders, wars, and the list could go on.  It seems as if Jesus should surely appear at any moment.

Yet, when we look at our world over the many centuries between the writing of Luke and today, we can see situations where people must have felt the same way.

Certainly, the nation of Israel needed to hear those words as hope for a better tomorrow.  They had endured relocations under wartime conditions many times, not even including being slaves in Egypt for decades.  They were taken into exile.  When they finally returned home, it was occupied by a Roman government that kept peace with violence and suppression.

After Jesus’ death, his followers endured suffering, torture, persecution and death when they stood firm in their conversion to the Christian faith. Wars are all over the map from ancient times up through the present.  In some ways it seems that we have returned to the vicious and violent ways of “showing our supremacy” as one group tries to conquer another.

Things just don’t look all that great in our world right now.  Did they ever look good?  Haven’t we always had problems and wars and oppression?  When will it ever end?

Our scripture tells us it will end when Jesus returns.  Okay.  Other scriptures say that we aren’t supposed to know when that will happen.  Okay.  So what now?

As we enter Advent and think about this passage from Luke, we might read a little further where Jesus tells his followers to pay attention, to live moral and ethical lives, to avoid frivolous life styles and stand tall, raising their eyes because “your redemption is near.”  Our redemption is here!

The preparation for Christmas brings hope once again that we have been given a Savior “which is Christ the Lord.”  In this is our continuing hope, a hope that covers centuries, a hope that keeps us moving, a hope that helps us to live fully in the present knowing that our time may be any time.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ who is the redeemer of the world.  So, for the many centuries since his death and resurrection, we have the belief that he lived, died, and rose again so that we might have life.  The promise of hope in Christ is not about avoiding challenges, negative things, or even being physically safe.  Hope in Christ is that he is here with us, leading and guiding us and reminding us that God has us in the palm of God’s hand.  No matter what the evil forces may hand us, God has us.  No one can take that away.  May God be praised!

 

Longing for God to Act

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6:34

Worrying comes naturally to me.  I try so hard to turn my worries over to God, and I succeed much of the time.  Yet, I do have times when I keep taking it back.

I read somewhere that worrying is a form of idolatry and lack of trust in God.  I don’t know about that.  My intention is always to trust in God, and I believe with all my heart that God prevails in the end.  But I also know that I have a calling and responsibility to carry on the world of Jesus in bringing God’s love to this broken and often violent world.

It’s not that I would ever think that I could do such a thing on my own, even though I often take the responsibility as if I AM doing it alone.  No, I really know in my mind and heart that I can’t do what I do without the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life or without the teachings of Jesus or without the love of God that is far too good to to keep to myself!

Worrying still is a companion at times, though.  I want to do a good job, so I think I worry that I’m not doing enough or ministering “right.”  In the above passage, Jesus reminds us that today’s trouble is enough for today, so I have been making a stronger effort to live in the present, being mindful, paying attention.

What I’m learning is that I need a lot more practice!  Maybe I have spent too many years living in the future with my ever-present calendar and schedules.  So, I’ve made my New Year’s resolution as we go into the church’s new year – Advent.

My resolution is to practice mindfulness – living in the present.  It doesn’t mean that I can throw out my calendar or stop planning ahead.  However, I can concentrate on what I’m doing at the moment and not be thinking ahead.

By being mindful, I will also not miss the miracles all around me, and I think it will give me a greater appreciation for the people I encounter every day, the work I do all day long, and the opportunities for ministry that come my way.

How about you?  Are you enjoying the present moment?

Do you find the presence of Christ in each moment – or at least make an attempt to do so?

How will you live differently when you live more fully in the present?

 

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