Advent is a time of waiting and anticipating the coming of the Christ. But what if waiting was something more active than we have made it?
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” This is what we say in the face of tragedy when we don’t know what else to say. But, it also removes us from the responsibility of doing anything. As Christians during Advent we say, "Come Lord Jesus." This too has become something we say when we don’t know what else to say, something that removes us from the responsibility of doing anything. Richard Rohr, in his Daily Meditations for Advent presents an active "Come Lord Jesus."
God is bigger than all tragedies. We see through the Bible countless times when God exercises his might. But we also see Jesus, God taking on a fully human form. And we see Jesus’ commission to his disciples, to participate in the bringing of the kingdom of God. He teaches his disciples to pray “your kingdom come” and when he leaves them, he says “go and make disciples of all nations.” God doesn’t need humans to stop tragedies. God, being bigger, could step in and end tragedy. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t because he has invited us, humans, into bringing renewal to our world. Every EMT, every police officer, every volunteer who entered into the pain and tragedy in California yesterday was God bringing renewal to our world. Christ’s manifestation in this world must be through us, says Evelyn Underhill.
God has allowed and invited us to participate in the bringing of his kingdom and he continues to teach us what this looks like. He did not come in human form as Jesus and then leave us with alone with a commission. He gave us the Holy Spirit and he gave us ekklesia. Ekklesia is a word we’ve started using this fall - in Greek the roots are "out of" and "to call." Literally, it means a the "called out ones." This group of called out people is not one, but a support system, a community of people who have heard the call to bring God’s kingdom. These people say "Come Lord Jesus" and mean something quite different than a passive cry.
"Come Lord Jesus" as Richard Rohr describes is a rallying cry, a call to action. We are active participants in renewal. What does active look like? It looks difficult, it looks sacrificial, and it looks loving. It looks like moving and affecting change in the real world with love.
This Advent we are bringing renewal to our friends at the Kenmore by blessing them with gifts.
We are bringing renewal to our friends at Brooklyn Community Services by serving them a Christmas meal.
You can bring renewal by educating yourself and contributing to relief for the refugee crisis.
You can bring renewal by serving, supporting financially, and lobbying for organizations and causes that move towards redemption for all. [Angie Vuyst lists some that have moved her heart here.]
Have an active Christmas.
[Photo by Chela Crinnion.]