December 3, 2012

Advent Wk. 1 - Awaiting our (un)King

1st Week of Advent | Luke 21:25-36

"Function is the key??inside the waiting room"????? from "Waiting Room" by Fugazi on 13 songs

This last week, I've been impressed by how inescapable is the term "fiscal cliff." Every time you turn on the news, there it is. For me, the term brings to mind the cartoons I watched as a kid; those episodes of Loony Tunes where Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner across a desert. The Roadrunner approaches a cliff and either skids around the edge, heading in another direction or moves at such an incredible velocity to cross over some great divide and on to the other side. But the Coyote???bless his heart???without fail charges over the cliff, defying gravity for a moment only to plummet to his demise.

Is that what lies ahead???Impending, financial doom???It seems as though we humans have a great propensity for painting bleak pictures of the future. Nonetheless, the future???as some would imagine it???is already present to a certain degree. The term has its effect on us because the economic climate of the day already tells us of what may potentially come.

Jesus' day and age, it appears, were not much different. The gospel passage read on this first Sunday of Advent has Jesus addressing people with heads hung low under the worries of the day and what was to come. How do I know this? Well, you don't tell someone to stand up straight, hold their head up high if they are already doing so. No, these original hearers of Jesus' words were, I imagine, burdened by the worries of the day and what was to come.

Most of the powers in this world, whether in first century Palestine or today, lead us toward anxiety rather anticipation. Like the term "fiscal cliff," it is frequently implied that there isn't enough. Such a paradigm of scarcity urges us toward ensuring our own security. Its the kind of paradigm that makes possible the manic consumerism that takes root in our culture every Black Friday and for the whole season.??But is that how we want to live? Is that "freedom?"

In such a moment this (un)King Jesus walks in. He doesn't deny the challenges of the day. He doesn't avoid what is most likely inevitable. He names it. But he isn't defined by it. Rather than insight anxiety, he offers us a different kind of waiting.??I refer to Jesus here as the "(un)King" because, as I've said before, he is unlike any other king before or after in all but name. His earthly life would begin in the most un-kingly of ways and continue so throughout his ministry. He would lead by serving. Win by dying. And the kind of kingdom he comes announcing is unlike any other.??It's as if he says, "Yes, those things are going to happen... but the kingdom coming???that is what you should be waiting for."

Like the celebrations that followed D-Day, even though World War II would not officially end for another year. Like those Narnians who whispered "Aslan is on the move" even while winter reigned. We live in hopeful and abundant expectation. It is an expectation that does not deny the challenges of the day or those to come. But it remains an expectation that refuses to be captive to such things. It counters those things. We receive through giving. We wait by living as if that which we wait for already is.

If this (un)King who comes introducing such an "upside down kingdom" is really on the move, how ought we prepare during this Advent time???

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Jason Cormier said...

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