(Advent 1A) But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. (Matthew 24: 36, 44)
It’s probably tempting to read this passage (and the verses that come between these) and imagine that we are parties to some sort of game of Divine hide and seek. Our story tells us over and over again that Jesus is returning. It has been augmented (that’s a nice word) by those who claim that they really DO know the day and the hour, despite the Biblical references to the contrary. So, somewhere along the way, most of us have surmised that we just need to live our lives on our best behavior in case it happens in the next moment. (Or maybe the next…or the next…or the next.)
So, what if the surprise turns out to be that Jesus has been here all along, that ahead of time itself, he has been calling and gathering and enlightening and sanctifying all along? What if Jesus’ glorious return already happened? What if that whole Pentecost thing when the Spirit came and rained down onto us all was the return? What if we’re not called to stay awake but rather to awaken to who we are supposed to be as the Children of Light? What if God isn’t playing hide and seek at all but is instead desperately hoping against hope that when God comes over and over and over again we will finally notice? What if the next moment IS the moment not because God finally comes but because you finally wake up and notice that God is here?
Jesus does comes at an unexpected hour and to unexpected places in unexpected ways. Jesus is not all that good at doing things according to our plans (or perhaps our plans are not exactly the vision that God holds for us.) In this Advent season of watching and waiting and trying our best to stay awake to it all, God comes again and again reaching and straining in the hope that we might open ourselves to it all. So, yes, get ready, because in the next moment, God comes (and the next…and the next…and the next.)
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn. (Henry David Thoreau)
FOR TODAY: What if in the next moment God came (ok, the next…or the next…or the next)?