So far it has been a lovely start to Advent, and a good balance of activity and reflection, worship and witness. I’ve been enjoying the depth of longing found in the Old Testament as I’ve explored various passages of scripture that outline the Messianic Hope the people had for a good King to reestablish and rule on David’s throne. I find their unshakeable hope fascinating and am convinced that the weight of our longing for Christ’s second advent is somewhat less that the wait for his first. I find myself waiting and longing to for him to come into every moment, every conversation, and every opportunity. I wait, too, for his coming in glory.
Yes, that’s right. I’m one of those who believes he will come again, with his Kingdom in all its fullness. I believe in a new Heaven and a new Earth that will come, established by God…yes, literally. I also believe that what we do in the here an now builds towards that great revelation of God’s ultimate Kingdom. His Kingdom come, his will being done. It is one of my biggest motivations – that Christ will take everything, every wholesome thing, and that it will last through eternity and count in heaven. I believe in Jesus’ mission to restore, renew and rebuild all things as it moves towards the climax of his coming again. I pray for his coming; I long for it.
Might seem a bit futile to wait, but thats what the discipline of Advent is. I realise, too, that many throw out any notion of Jesus’ second coming at all. I understand how people’s rational mindsets would want to discount the idea, and I understand how inconceivable it can all seem. I think that was very much the case for those who waited a long time for the first coming (advent), so much so that many of them didn’t believe it even when Jesus was on the scene…as John says, ‘he came to his own, and his own didn’t know him’.
But for me, Christian hope lies in the promise of the fulness of his Kingdom. Without it, the whole Christian ‘project’ is nothing but a social programme with a set of cumbersome religious ideas. Yet, even for those who can’t get their faith to include these ideas, the message of the wait is powerful. In the mess of the world nothing resolves quickly. We wait at every turn for healing, peace, and for goodness to flourish. We still await for the world to reflect Jesus’ ideas of the Kingdom in the here and now. In fact, it seems to me that the wait for these things in the here and now seems a much taller order than God’s wholistic action in the future and for eternity!
Wait for Jesus at every opportunity. Pray for his coming, in whatever way your understanding allows you to…and allow the promise to settle in your heart that God might show you just something of his bigger picture.