Worship with Us This Sunday - 10:15 a.m.
From Pastor Todd’s Weekly Email . . .
For just a little while I wonder what it would be like to live on the other side of Jesus’ first coming. It is not that I eschew modern amenities. I like running water. Turning on a light as opposed to filling an oil lamp seems safe and simpler. My interest lies in attempting to live in the shoes of those whose hope rested in what was to come rather than grounded in an event we will soon celebrate this Christmas.
There are days where I wonder what it might be like to witness an event living with the explanation that, for instance, the means where my family and extended family left Egypt was “by the mighty hand of God.” All I have to go on is someone told me that is what those events mean. I did not see God. I did not hear God. I only know that my parents and extended family helped me learn from their remembrances that their story told was filled with amazing episodes of liberation and tragedy.
They carried around the story and experiences of others in their lore. We carry around a Bible.
When the prophet laments the situation of the people he cries out, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, . . ..” The longing for what is wrong to be put right grows with each passing day. The people suffer at the hand of their own decisions. Those decisions create the occasion for their adversaries to stand over them. It is as if they know they are living the consequences of their own actions and at the same time, they feel no real light to show them the way out.
The prophet calls on the memory of God acting in the past. Stories of “God coming down.” Which for them, was an event wherein they had no explanation for an outcome that seemed impossible to consider. Their only sense was that “God came down.” They do not mean it in the sense of seeing a physical presence. They mean it in seeing a physical action. Would you not think that would leave some room to wonder if there would ever come a time where physical presence met physical action? Would God really come down? Would he show up with more than action? Would he himself arrive?
I really don’t know how to re-create what surely existed in the minds and hearts of people who suffered the weight of their experiences without making a reference to Jesus. For we who live on this side of Christmas, the Incarnation, we quickly attach physical action with physical presence. It is written.
Yet, there still remains for us a kindred connection. The lore of the people in the past was as strong as our sense of the truthfulness of the Scriptures. They may not have been able to locate a chapter and a verse, but their memories were alive with the activity of God throughout their history. We know that history has recorded more than 2000 years since physical presence met physical action in Jesus, the Christ. We surely are not ready to declare that what is wrong has been put right in real time – even if in the death and resurrection Jesus defeated sin and death.
We could well be shouting with Isaiah today. “God would you come down.” It is this sense that ties us to a day gone by. Their sense of grief that things would surely be better if the King returned is also our sense today.
We begin a new Season of Advent with the same hope that the King would return to fulfill completely what was begun then and carried on through today by the Spirit. We also celebrate a new Season of Advent ready to live in the realities of the Kingdom which was inaugurated in the coming of Jesus, the Christ.