(Advent 1A) 11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13: 11-14)
As Paul wrote these words in his letter to the Romans, he knew, just KNEW, that the Reign of God was about to be ushered into being. The dawn had begun with Christ’s Resurrection but the daybreak of the fullness of God’s Kingdom was about to happen. So, for Paul, it was imperative that people understand this. He urges his readers to move and move quickly away from the life that they know into a new with Christ. This was about to happen quickly. Quick…come now…change now…this is about to happen.
OK, so it didn’t exactly happen like Paul thought it would. Paul understood Kairos, “God’s time”, probably better than anyone. But chronologically, he might have been a little off. Or maybe not. It is sad that today we have lost that sense of urgency, that sense of needing, or, even better, desiring to change, desiring to come closer and closer to God’s Kingdom, desiring to being a part of it. But instead, most of us probably sit back and wait for it to happen. After all, it’s been nearly 2,000 years since Paul wrote those words. What’s another couple of days or weeks or months or whatever? (We’ll get it together when there’s time, when we get all this other stuff done—when the presents are wrapped and the house is decorated and we can finally have a moment to ourselves.)
How would your life change if you felt that urgency that they felt in the first century? What would be different if rather than preparing for whatever you plan to do Christmas Eve or Christmas, you were instead preparing for the coming of God into your life? Now I’m not talking about the usual lighting a candle and sitting in the midst of the twinkling lights and singing “Silent Night” and feeling the warm embrace of God’s Spirit in that magical Christmas Eve moment. I’m talking about your life changing. What would be different if you were getting ready for your life to change? Yes, you…Paul wrote this letter not to the Jewish believers who were already on board. Paul wrote this letter to a Gentile audience. Paul wrote this letter to you. So maybe it didn’t all happen when he thought it would. But Paul really believed that once everyone was gathered in, once everyone was awakened to God’s coming into their lives, then the fullness of God’s Kingdom, the very vision that God had imagined all along, would come to be.
Yeah, maybe it didn’t happen when Paul thought it would. Or maybe it did. Maybe feeling that urgency, that deep desire for God to come into one’s life IS what Paul was writing about. Maybe preparing for your life to change, opening your eyes to the dawn that is already coming to be, IS what your part is in the Kingdom of God coming into its fullness. But the crux is, as I think it probably was for Paul, you are not called to change so that you will not be left behind (oh, don’t even go there); you are rather called to change because God, in God’s infinite mercy and grace, doesn’t want you to miss out on the part of it that is happening NOW. So, what will change? What will change when God comes into your life? That would be now…the dawn is breaking. Sure, you can do it later, but think what you would miss!
Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. (Arundhati Roy)
FOR TODAY: What would be different if God was coming into your life now? (Oh yeah…God is…now!)