Advent 1: Hope
The lectionary begins advent with a scripture not about Mary or Joseph,
but about the apocalypse.
A bit odd. But, let’s listen.
Scripture: Luke 21:25-36
Jesus describes what will happen before the Kingdom of Heaven is fully realized on earth.
There will be chaos and confusion and distress.
Then Jesus, the Son of Man, will come, bringing justice and peace to all.
Jesus tells his disciples to look for the signs and instead of buying into the fear,
Jesus calls the disciples to hope.
Do not be weighed down with worry, (v34)
but trust and hope the coming Kingdom of justice and love is on the way.
Do not be afraid of the state of the world,
But trust and hope in the coming of love incarnate, the birth of new life.
So we begin this season with hope and anticipation.
A modern-day theologian, Jim Wallis, reminds us,
“hope is not a feeling, but a decision – based on whatever we call faith.”
Hope is a decision of faith.
This means that when life is chaotic and overwhelming,
We need not wait to feel hope,
We can choose to hope.
I recently found a blog post by someone doing an “anti-advent wreath” [Read It Here]
Each week lighting a candle of the advent wreath and reflecting on its opposite.
What is the opposite of hope?
Not despair, for despair is a feeling.
The opposite of hope is resignation.
Resignation is the decision to not bother.
Hope believes change and new life is possible.
Resignation insists that nothing will change and evil will ultimately win.
Hope is an open hand to what could be.
Resignation is a closed fist to any possibility.
We can choose to open our hands and believe new life is possible.
We can choose hope.
Communion is an act of hope.
Communion is a spiritual practice Jesus gave to his disciples on the eve of his death.
In what could be a scary time of chaos and confusion and fear,
Jesus tells his disciples to eat a meal in his memory and hope for new life.
In communion we remember Christ’s presence among us and his promise of a new covenant. Remembering Christ’s presence and promise gives us hope on our darkest days.
Communion is an act of hope for it calls us to remember and proclaim Christ’s promises for us.
At table Jesus calls us to remember and hope in his promises of new life.
At table Jesus calls us to remember and hope in the coming Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
At table Jesus calls us to remember and hope in the new covenant made in his sacrifice of love.
When you gather around a table this season, do so in hope of love and life born anew. Amen.