Waiting for the Coming

Dear friends

I remember as a child expressing the frustration of waiting to my parents as I stood with other scouts and cubs for the Royal procession to arrive and pass by. The Queen was coming and we were dutifully in our positions to wave our flags and give her a welcoming cheer. But O the wait for her arrival – it seemed to be forever! 

Advent

Today we celebrate the season of Advent, taken from the Latin word ‘adventus’ meaning ‘coming’. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. It prepares us to celebrate his first coming as Saviour and it anticipates his second coming when he returns as Judge. Central to our faith is the conviction that Jesus will indeed come back, renew all things and establish a Kingdom of love and justice with peace and harmony on earth. The songs we sing at this time reflect the ancient longing for our Lord’s return and the putting right of everything that is broken.

The Coming Kingdom

At that time all will be redeemed and made new as we see anticipated in the book of Revelation. But in the meantime we welcome in God’s coming Kingdom as we celebrate Jesus’s presence amongst us by His Spirit. What we have now when we see evidence of healing, righteousness and justice in our lives is merely a foretaste of the greater glory that will be revealed when Jesus returns.

Carriers of the Presence of God

When we commit ourselves to follow Jesus and surrender to living life God’s way, He comes and lives in us by His Spirit. This means that wherever we go we take something of the presence of God with us. Where the presence of God is, darkness is displaced and light shines.

We carry that light which brings change into the environment we enter, change into the lives of people we meet, change into the circumstances of the places where we work or socialise or go about our daily routines. Christ is alive in us and shining through us to effect change: light to replace darkness. 

The body of Christ – a place of transformation

So when we gather for worship as the Body of Christ we should expect to see change taking place amongst us: bodies being healed, minds being renewed, emotions finding release, wholeness becoming established. We affirm this whenever we respond liturgically to the declaration: ‘The Lord is here’ ‘His Spirit is with us’. 

In-breaking of the Supernatural

Last Sunday Michael told me that he had had a stiff neck for about two weeks. It had caused him great discomfort such that it disturbed his sleep at night. As he entered the church, our space of worship, without anyone praying for him but just walking into an environment where God was significantly present by His Spirit, the stiffness in his neck evaporated and he experienced release. We celebrate that supernatural in-breaking of God’s activity and long to see more. For as St Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:

‘My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power’. (1 Corinthians 2:4) 

Extending God’s invitation

As we enter this Advent season and prepare our hearts and homes for the celebration of the birth of Jesus may we look forward also for his return in glory. We will be given various opportunities to extend God’s invitation to our friends and neighbours to share in the joy of this season – whether through cell social events or Christmas services. Mindful of His return as Judge, let us work and pray to enable all people to come to know Jesus as their Saviour and expect more intentionally his powerful activity in our lives and in the life of the church. Marana tha, Come, O Lord!