The Second Week of Advent: Remembering the Good That Comes

Lord, you were favourable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin.” (Psalm 85:1-2)

We have our foot firmly planted in December now. Already there is a count down to Christmas. But according to the lectionary, we still have miles to go. Our Lord intends, though, that they be pleasant miles. And if the times are tough, we can call on God for the Spirit’s presence. And we can call on friends for their presence. We are coming into the days of blessing; and it is my pray that they are blessed for you, beloved reader.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps”. (Psalm 85:8-13)

The verses from Psalm 85 are intended to remind us of the good, and anticipate for more good to follow. When salvation is available to all people; when love and faithfulness fills each person’s heart. And when peace and good will is a reality for all. Are these not the wishes for Advent and Christmas? But we must not make the mistake, beloved reader, of thinking that things will come of their own accord. We must do our part, while we wait, to make sure that there is peace, good will, and compassion. Let it start with us, and let it be part of our preparations for Advent and Christmas. Selah!

DAY OF THE LORD . . . And those whose task it is to wait and watch

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back–whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Watch!” (Reference: Mark 13:33-37 )

I feel sorry for the servant at the door. While the rest of the servants are inside completing their daily tasks, and resting so that they may work again tomorrow, the servant at the door keeps watching, ready and waiting for when the master shall return. The servants inside eat at leisure and have time to talk with one another while the one at the door must keep his/her eyes alert and aware of everything that is going on outside the door. For him/her life begins and ends at the door. It is no wonder we Christians grow weary and lax; being ever vigilant is tiring. We long to take part in what is just behind us, outside our sight and hearing. And we stuck at the door, not being allowed to venture out into the world and see what is beyond the door post. We are kept on limbo, not part of anything, but waiting.

Why, you may ask, is it only the servant at the door who must be ever alert? The answer is simple – the servant at the door is to announce when the master returns. It is his/her task to let the other servants know when the master has returned, welcoming the owner of the household. Are we all, perhaps, to be “servants at the door” waiting for the Master? It is the task of all of us who work and dwell in our Master’s “household” to watch and wait for the Lord’s return? Sometimes, beloved, it feels like it is. At least that is the role I often see for myself. Being ever watchful and aware.

Historic Anabaptist Peter Glock wrote, “For how could we answer for ourselves if we were not prepared for the supper of the Lamb? . . . . Therefore let us watch, so that we do not perish with them [the wicked and unprepared]. For each will receive recompense from the Lord as he has acted, evil or good.” And he sums up my feelings exactly. How could I and would I answer if I were not always in readiness? Even at my age I am still discovering what that means for me.

May you beloved know your task in your Lord’s household, and if you are called to be a servant at the door, may your fulfill your task with diligence and perseverance. Selah!