Advent | Day 13
Friday, December 9
- Psalms 31, 35
- Haggai 1.1-15
- Revelation 2.18-29
- Matthew 23.27-39
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Our scripture passage for today is a jarring reminder of what, and who, it is that we are waiting for. In a season of holiday cheer and gift-giving, Jesus’ “Woe to you . . .” speeches are as out of place as noisy protesters. Having grown up on a steady diet of television, I know full well that it’s easier to spend the month of December encouraging good will among men. Calling people hypocrites and snakes and murderers is not at all what we’re supposed to be doing now!
Yet, Jesus points us towards something very important if we are to grasp Advent fully. While God eagerly waits to gather us all together (like a hen gathering her brood), in order to even recognize the one who comes in the name of the Lord, we have work to do.
We know that the world is unjust and Advent is a time for us to take stock of our own roles in injustice. Too often we, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ rebuke, see injustice as a result of what is happened in the past. We would not have condoned slavery, or Jim Crow laws, or economic inequality, or anything of the other things that are still evident in our time. Jesus demands, however, that we understand our own complicity in these things.
It is then that we are able to recognize the One who comes in the name of the Lord. Jesus is the one who calls us to an examined life—not just for its own sake, but so that we can recognize his efforts to reconcile the world back to God. The Pharisees who rejected Jesus did so because they could not recognize him as the one God had sent, just as they could not see their own responsibility to God’s work of reconciliation.
As I write this, people all over America are involved in contentious debates about justice and our economic systems and our ways of life. Perhaps by Christmas, the Occupy Wall Street movement(s) will be several months old and will likely still be a main feature in news coverage and national conversation. Regardless of our own experiences and thoughts about the issues, this movement should compel us to occupy the space of Advent in a way that allows us an honest look at our own roles in the injustice we see around us. May we, in the words of one my friends, hear the call to “occupy our own streets” so that we might truly find ourselves saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Director of Outreach, University Ministries
You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at: http://issuu.com/office.communications/docs/2011_advent_guide#download