Advent Devotion – Sunday December 2
The Rev. Dr. LeAnn Flesher, Vice President of Academics & Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, CA
Advent, the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV)
There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among the nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. (v25)
Global warming: fact or fiction?
Wars around the planet in 2018: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Syria, Yemen (10,000 or more deaths in past year); Myanmar, Moro, Somali, Nigeria, Darfur, Libya . . . (1000 to 9999 deaths in 2018); Israeli—Palestinian conflict; Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea. . .
Hurricane Maria (December 2017) Puerto Rico
Hurricane Florence (Sept 10, 2018) N Carolina, S Carolina, Virginia
Hurricane Michael (Oct 10, 2018) Florida Panhandle (the worst hurricane since Andrew in 1992)
Recent news would suggest that Luke 21:25, written in the first century CE, is describing our current world. How does the gospel writer exhort the faith community to respond? “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life . . .be alert at all times, praying you will have the strength to escape all these things . . . and to stand before the Son of Man.” (vv 34-36)
Who is the Son of Man?
Luke uses this term to refer to Jesus of Nazareth and by so doing equates him to a divine-human messiah.
Advent is the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays. It is the time for the Christian church to reflect upon the coming of one that will bring hope, reconciliation, and peace on earth.
May we not be weighed down by the worries of this world but be renewed and refreshed as we focus on the source(s) for hope, love, joy and peace throughout advent 2018.
Come, Holy Spirit. Renew us in this new season of expectation, that we might be attuned to you and the hope you bring into the world. Help us to have open minds, open ears, open eyes and open hearts to receive you. Amen