This past Sunday we went to church, the 4th Sunday in Advent. Central to the message of Advent is waiting. I get the message of waiting, and when i say that i don’t mean that in a cocky way. The word of God still brings new, fresh, challenging even funky insights to me every time i open its pages. Well, maybe not every time.
Sunday’s sermon focused on Mary-mother of Jesus. I suspect many sermons around the world focussed on her during worship this week. Mary is a brilliant example of waiting. Not to mention all the societal pressures both obvious and subtle that she encountered during her pregnancy. I have to admit that as we entered into the sermon yesterday this was the framework for the message i was expecting.
WOW, was i wrong. However in all the right ways, and for all the right reasons. More about that later. What jumped out and hit me smack between the eyes or in my soul, whatever you want to call it was this statement.
Advent… not a time of who we think we are, but who God has called us to be.
Think about that for a second, read it again, read it aloud. Ask the person next to you what they think about it. Advent… not a time of who we think we are, but who God has called us to be. As i sat there and listened and thought about this it turned the whole ADVENT=WAITING equation on its head. How often when we wait do we just wait (don’t like to use the word JUST too much, but seemed appropriate here).
How often when we wait do we just wait? “I know that the end will come because that’s what waiting is about”. We focus on the end, and want it to hurry up and get here. “i need to get through this to get to the end.” Or… “Once this is done, we will be almost at the end”. How many more days until we leave the US, or how many more sleeps until Christmas. We almost see the waiting as a necessary evil to get to the end. Almost like a chore, or the tick tock of time has to happen, like some law of the universe before we can get there, where ever we are going.
What if along with, or buried in the time of waiting we framed it with thoughts of, transformative experiences of who God has called us to be. Almost like a dual focus of waiting, but also pondering, even changing into who God called us to be.
What if we took the waiting, and threw off the dogmas, the ideologies, the who we think we are’s and looked at who God has called us to be. If we took the time of waiting and examined EVERYTHING about us, or a part of us to sit, listen, reflect, argue, disagree, even shout about who God has called us to be. I wonder what Mary did during this time. I suspect she was not one to sit well. How could she when she had the Savior of the Universe kicking around in her belly. That’s some serious power in the belly. I wonder if she had cravings for different food. Anyways… if wonder if she took time to consider who God was calling her to be, while we don’t read many reflections on this i’m sure Mary wasn’t good at waiting.
What would waiting and even making choices and decisions do to move you towards who God is calling you to be. What would it do to your world, perception of it, even your friendships, relationships, almost everything in it.
This same question of “who God has called us to be” is definitely a transformative question. A calling question is at times a question of what is going to change, what is going to be transformed in your life. Since we are considering this at Advent, this time of year in the Christian Calendar i am reminded and prompted to step out little further. A little further to another important time of year in the Christian calendar, Lent. A definite time of considering through transformation of who God is calling us to be.
Imagine what this does to the message of Advent. It almost brings in a message of Lent at the same time. Really hoping i’m not going to be struck by lightning when i say that. That is certainly not my intention.
We could almost rename it … ADLENT. I can hear it now… Come and be in ADLENT, a time of waiting but also considering who God has called us to be.