Malchi 4:1-4 | Luke 1:68-79 | Luke 3:1-6
Advent is a time of preparation, anticipation, staying awake - not in view of decorating our house, making a list and checking it twice or waiting up for the jolly old guy in red; as much as it is about a future-oriented hope, expectation and active waiting. The texts this week remind us to hunger and thirst as God does: for justice, for a reign in which the oppressed and the oppressors live together in peace, in which the lion and lamb lay together, a pardoxal reversal of the world as we know it. But how does it come?
It's not a new word, it's the Word that God has spoken from prophet to prophet, from age to age. But how does it come? What's up with God taking so long? Or maybe it's just an empty promise, a metaphorical response to the presence of Evil in our world.
A book I read this week by New Testament scholar François Bovon says,
"God doesn't intervene directly in the world. Rather God intervenes by God's Word, which in a surprising way invites people to action. The Word of God has an undeniable effect on the world and human history when human beings let themselves be seized by it, listen, love and obey."I'm not sure that I live my daily life believing and living as if this Word is real, realistic inviting me to realize with God and others this justice in our world. If I did, maybe I'd live differently, more other-focused, with a wider long-term vision. At the same time it's impossible to live every moment fully (without going crazy or losing oneself in a carpe-dieum-debauchery) or to live every moment while looking towards the final Day. So we live in the tension, of listening, staying awake, preparing the way of the Lord and for the Lord.
Maybe that's the word for this week, the good news for us, that when we feel torn, worn-out and used-up from the tension that we feel every day between the now and the not yet, between our deepest dreams and our daily reality - the good news, the promise is that there is more than what we see now, that God is bringing history - our-story - to fruition, completion, to salvation - one in which justice is for all, peace is the means and the end, fulfillment will be the currency of our relationships. Isn't that good news that we need to claim for our lives today in the midst of a global recession, broken relationships, un-doable work, and our hungers and dreams?
[image: "His name is John" by Daniel Bonnell]