The time of Advent is here…the awaiting, the preparation, the expectation that Jesus will come, again, anew.
The theme this year, from Sundays and Seasons, is “We Wait for what we Already Have.” It is a difficult concept to grasp, this waiting for what we already have: salvation, the promise of God that God loves us, forgives us, and abides us. We tend to want to put off our responses to God’s promises until we “feel” they have been fulfilled. We are taught socially to “not pay the price” until we have “received the goods.”
When do you know God has saved you, that salvation is yours, now? What makes you know God loves you?
How do you understand that you are forgiven? Can you know God’s presence in your life?
These are concepts we struggle to offer to others, either through God’s promises passed on or through our own way of living as people who have received these promises.
We are people who have these in our awareness and as such, we get to live into these promises, trusting they are real, they are complete, they are of God for us. As your pastor, I tell you these things over and over, hoping the Holy Spirit will bring them into your awareness, your daily mannerisms.
Sometimes, when I’m thinking of this idea of “waiting for what I already have,” I think of a rope lying atop a scummy bit of water. The rope is slowing pulling the scummy parts of the water into the shoreline, the water behind the rope is clean…we have the movement of the Holy Spirit present with us. God moves the Spirit through us to forgive and remove from us the sin we commit. We are forgiven and God forgets that sin—removing it from our beings as we repent and turn to new ways of being in the world. We continue to move through the sin of this world, ever collecting and adding to the pollution of our souls, all the while, God winds through us granting us salvation and love in spite of who we are. Jesus came to be present and to live among us as one of us in order that we might know God truly moves in our lives, our daily situations, and is one with us.
Emmanuel. God with us. We await his coming even as we already have God with us.
A woman I once knew would say, “I know Jesus is coming again. I really hope he comes before I die.” When I’d ask her why she wanted him to come in her lifetime, she’d say, “I don’t want to die and I really want to be able to greet him here! I love this world!”
To live with the expectation that bodily, Jesus will return to us today is to live in a faith that is vibrant and full of joy, a faith that leads us through difficulties, and a life that honors God in spite of the horrors sin brings into our lives.
Jesus came in vulnerability, an infant in a feeding trough, that we might know God does not need the grandest, mostest, greatest situations of this world to enact God’s blessings in our lives. Mary was an unwed mother. Joseph was planning to leave her when he heard she was pregnant. Their baby was born in the lowliest of places. These are situations we can see in our world today. This is a story we can share; that the God who loves us so very much has come and is coming to us over and over, and so we wait for what we already have.
Happy Waiting to you, dear Church!