Collapse and Hope
Rev. Doug Floyd
Sun and moon turned dark. Stars falling from skies. Smoke and fire in the sky. Everything is quaking.
Welcome to Advent…The beginning of the end of all things.
Advent breaks into our world like a thunderclap or a meteor crashing down from the skies and reverberating across the land. Who can sleep when the world is tumbling into cataclysm?
Advent comes like a crisis, like a wildfire, like an explosion that shatters our comfortable worlds.
The culture is filling the air with songs of holly and jolly, with heart-warming commercials of gifts given and relationships forged afresh.
The Scripture readings at the start of Advent focus on families falling apart, nations battling nations, children rising against parents. The texts look a bit closer to our present reality. In Mark 13, all that is holy has been desecrated and made desolate. The places of refuge are crumbling war zones where security is nowhere to be found.
This sounds just like today’s headlines: shootings in churches, refugees captured and sold as slaves, nations threatening and even trying to annihilate other nations. In this world of power and striving, the weakest of the weak are trampled over, are in the way, are on the edge of survival.
This is exactly the place where the church begins to watch and wait for the coming of the Lord.
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! (Ps 80:3)
The thundering words of Jesus and the prophets warn us that everything is not all right. Though we may celebrate our inner gods and goddess, the world we create looks far more like a battleground of demons. Advent wakes us up in the middle of our comfortable lives with a warning of absolute collapse and unshakeable hope.
The world around us is passing away. All that looks strong and valuable and enticing is passing into nothingness. Human systems rooted in selfish indulgence and personal gain are collapsing, but in the middle of the collapse, the true King is establishing his kingdom.
He is present in the midst of a world, struggling through each day. He is present and will not abandon us. His promised kingdom will be fulfilled. Darkness will fall and the light of love will shine from our Lord through the hearts of His people.
We begin our Advent journey with an honest recognition of the broken condition of our hearts and our world. But we also begin with hope, with the promise that He is coming.
We are called to watch and wait for His sudden appearing. As we look for the coming of the Lord, we walk in the reality of His rule and reign even now but living as a people of light, a people of love, a people live toward the hope of His kingdom come, His will be done.
…you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Ro 13:10–12)