Sunday, November 27, 2011
Dark and Light
Then they will see `the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake." Mark 13:24-37
This has been a long day at the end of a long week. As we begin Advent today, I am reminded how this time is set aside for preparation, for making our hearts ready anew for the coming of the Christ child. As we sat in traffic tonight, crawling along the blue route, the sun dropped lower and lower over the horizon, and the pinks and reds faded in to a blue darkness. Arriving home much later than we had hoped, the fingernail moon had disappeared and the stars were brilliant in the mild winter night sky. It was as if the sky and the natural world was turning right in front of me, turning in preparation for the changing of the world.
Jesus is preparing his disciples for the dramatic changes ahead of them. They really don't want to hear, they want the mild weather and the bright light of his presence to go on forever. But everything has its season, and change is inevitable. Winter is necessary for spring to come, and night must come before the light of day. We are invited to a time of prayer and preparation, as the world bustles to shop and spend, we are invited to quiet reflection of the love we have that is breaking forth into the world.
As this day ends, I ask God to help me cherish the darkness, and tenderly hold on to these times of preparation. May theses day be full on wonder and song, full of listening and looking. May I be ready to change and follow a morning star, the promise of new life and love, that God is bringing anew to our darkened world.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.