advent waiting room

An eagerness for an improvement lives deep within the groans of our society, our culture, our selves.  We don’t feel as well as we would like.  We have a sense that something is wrong and someone might know the answer.  We wonder who to turn to. We suppose that God might show us a New Way, but we aren’t really sure what it would take from us.

We set an appointment with a sage, a doctor, an advisor, a Christ. We cancel other events and open up space, our minds, our hearts, our lives. We want a new consciousness so we can know what we need to do to feel well.  We gather up what we think belongs to us: our time, our knowledge, our strength, our pride. In short, we cling to our possessions and carry them with us.

We move out the door and to bus stops, cars, trains.  Fear knows we’re up to something important so the journey is rough.  Spies track our routes across stormy seas, down winding roads, along steep cliffs.  Yet, we get to where we think we need to be.  We arrive together.

It turns out that they’re not ready for us.  We have to wait in rooms full of books and news magazines.  Some of us have to wait in chapels and others wait where it is wild with nature.  In separate places, we are united together.

Although we are together, we are different. Others are confused about what we’re doing here and there. Some are even angry because they don’t understand.  Still, we remain confident that we’re in the right place.  They tease us and ask us silly questions.  We declare we have an appointment and our time is soon.

We insist on sticking around.  Really, we are so desperate to feel better that we are willing to keep waiting at all costs. We are willing: we’ll give up our jobs, we’ll fast, we’ll protest, we’ll go to jail if we must.  As we wait we study the Bible and remember recent history. We pray ancient psalms and poetry.  We are not leaving.

We keep believing that soon we’ll have our time.  We have hope that the consciousness is coming. Hope is our mantra and our message. We know there’s a Way.

We’re waiting in a room full of hope. We believe and trust in God.  We’re excited and we’re happy.  We wait in Love.

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. –2 Peter 3:8-14


power to the people

Jesus gave power to the people a long time ago.  The power is still with the people today.

People are uniting and speaking out and rising up working for the type of justice Jesus taught us about- the justice of love. They’ve done this since the time of Jesus.  Then and now the people use their power for the goodness of God.  The poor, the disadvantaged and the overworked have declared their right for fair pay, for human rights, equality, and justice. This is good because the Kingdom of God is with the meek, the poor and the peaceful. Jesus said so himself.

Today there are people who live in excess. They stutter justifications for their diamond cuff-links while the makers of their jewels scrape by for survival.  The poor must grow cash crops such as tobacco, cotton and corn then sell these things to the rich.  Or worse, they are forced to sell their landor sacrifice their clean water and air at unfair prices.  The poor can’t grow their own food to simply live so then they starve to death.  Meanwhile, in some countries people are getting bigger and bigger and more and more food is wasted–simply tossed away.

Has capitalism become another type of feudalism?

We’ve seen power and control mess things up for a long while now.  Jesus knew all about it, so he turned things all around.  Jesus  tried to warn the privileged that he wasn’t going to trust them with building the Kingdom anymore as they were doing a pretty horrible job.  Today, we still seem to be clueless about what this means.

I couldn’t help but to think of “Occupy Wall Street” and other revolutions when I studied the Gospel last Sunday:

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?
Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

It seems like an awful parable that could leave any person feeling confused and discouraged- like it did me.  Why would our great teacher of non-violence use so many images of violence to teach a point? What is the point?

We must pay attention to whom Jesus is speaking to really get the warning. He’s talking to the people of privilege- the people who think that they have some sort of divine right to control the poor, the dogma, the systems and the economics.  It seems to me that we are being told that violence , wealth and privilege aren’t the answers.

The answers live with the rejected.  The power is burning in the hearts of the powerless, in their peaceful revolutions and their voices that are united for change.  The answers are in the quiet fields where the poor labor for freedom.

The Kingdom of God is here now and not yet.  Power has been redefined.  The people of poverty experience redemption as they reject the systems that have rejected them.  The poor are creating the peace that Jesus teaches about when they do acts of mercy and refuse the acts of war. The rejected are powerful with they show God’s “kingdom come” and “will be done” as they love and serve one another.

I am not really sure where I fit in it all. I commit the sin of over-consumption and mindless cooperation with corrupt systems.  I feel powerless, yet overwhelmed and sick from my privilege.  I justify purchases of unnecessary and over-packaged treats because I hear the news radio preach about “consumer confidence” as the way out of economic dysfunction.  I pray for the kingdom of God, yet I keep looking in the wrong places for the answers to the questions that drive me.

I have a suspicion that if I truly heeded the words of Jesus and looked for the kingdom of God with the peaceful people of poverty, I would find myself poor and powerful.  I would probably find myself in the arms of our good, loving God.