Archive for the ‘Advent15’ Category

An Advent Quest

Reading John 18:28-38


A story more associated with the Easter season than Advent, the encounter of Jesus with Pilate is very fitting for today.  Found in John’s Gospel (18:28-38) the setting is at the government administrative center where Pilate lived and held court.  Religious leaders hauled Jesus before Pilate because they wanted to apply the death sentence but did not have the authority to do so.  So they accused Jesus of sedition and treason –claiming to be a king when Caesar is emperor over the Jews.   Pilate senses this is a railroading job, but is forced by protocol to see this through, and ultimately, sentence Jesus to execution.  Pilate asks Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus asks Pilate his motive in this question.  Ultimately, this is the question we must each arrive at, and consider our motive for asking.  Why do you want to know about Jesus? Our reason for enquiring may determine the answer we perceive. What do you want of Jesus? Do you, like Pilate, want wash your hands of the whole thing and get on living your life your way?  Do you want learn from and encounter a good teacher and maybe pick up something positive for your life?   Are you looking for something deeper, some connection with your creator, some answers to your life?  Are you looking for something else?

Consider the answer Jesus gives Pilate; “you are right in saying I am a King, in fact for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of the truth listens to me.”  An Advent/Christmas theme indeed!  For unto us a child is born… peace on earth and good will towards mankind.  This, Jesus says, is truth.  Pilate asks –I wonder with sneer or with a world weary sigh?-  “what is truth?”   The truth is that God became human to provide a sacrifice on our behalf.  To provide a way for us to enter into relationship with our creator, a relationship on this earth and into eternity.  The King of Kings born in human in humble circumstances, laid in a manger.  The King of Kings hanging on a cross, His life for ours. A King of Kings who is coming back to inaugurate His Kingdom in its fullness -a 2nd Advent.

What are you looking to discover about God this Advent season?  What answer do you seek from Jesus? May you encounter the living God who is calling you into relationship with Him!



A Better Advent

Revelation 1:1-8

Blessed are those who hear and take to heart what is written –the testimony of Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus, creator, redeemer, sustainer, sovereign, who was and is and is to come.

Do you ever wonder if all this is true?

I mean –is there really a God?  And if so, is it Father-Son-Holy Spirit?  Occasionally I ask myself this question.  What if this isn’t true? If it is not true, then my whole life is a sham and a waste –not a con- I’ve made my choices sincerely and sacrificially. I’m not perfect or even really good at this faith journey and following my callings. As I ponder this question I review, I quiet my heart and mind beyond the implications to my life –if necessary I can change and adapt and live life until I die.

My initial training and passion is science, and go to that. I honestly cannot think of a valid reason for life and existence other than a creator.  With design and creation comes purpose. Why?  What for? (These are two different questions.  While the utility of something seems obvious, its necessity and inspiration may not be evident in its utility.)  I conclude that God must have created this <sic: everything>, including me, for a purpose. Here now I can only explain the sincerity and reality of faith to the presence of God in my life. The Holy Spirit who awakens my mind and soul to address by hunger within. Blaise Pascal articulated it so well –a God shaped vacuum. My purpose is a relationship with God. (I and you, dear reader, are only special in this: that if one is created for relationship with God, then we all are created for relationship with God).

But what kind of relationship?  I’m an optimist by nature, so it isn’t hard for me to ascribe the best of intentions to God, but more than my inclination, I see the evidence of those who cultivate this relationship with the God-who-is-here, we have God in common.  God’s plan was simple, we are created for relationship, and the best of relationships are those mutual friendships, described as kindred spirits. There is a connection, a bond, it is completely free (oh there is responsibility and obligation, but it is not onerous, even when it is difficult –I’m in).

I ponder God’s risk in that freedom, we don’t’ have to engage in this relationship. Adam and Eve made some poor choices regarding that relationship, it was bound to happen. The consequences are human-wide, we are tainted by that choice to this day. But God is in for the relationship and continues to invite us. So Jesus, our creator, decided to become us.  A great tribute to relationship and commitment. A desperation not of panic or self-absorption, but of recognizing that, even at our best engagement, sincerest devotion and commitment, we humans could not break the hold of sin upon us. Enter Christ, the advent, the coming, the arrival.  Here my quest, my question turns; Jesus became us to facilitate relationship sacrificially –not out of duty or mere obligation- but of the greatest gift of relationship; His life for mine. I’m overwhelmed, I’m awed, I’m frightened, I’m in love. This is the essence of my faith and hope; “me and you Jesus”.  At times I am a distracted and self-absorbed friend, I have so much to learn and enjoy.

It is in this relationship that I realise it is true, true for this life and true for the next.  There is a plan, there is a process, there is a progress. Lord Jesus you are my Alpha –my beginning, and my Omega –my end, you are, you indeed were, and you are coming again –the almighty sovereign LORD.

So I enter this Advent celebration of your birth confident of your presence in my life, adoring you, looking to your return. I’m on your side and I choose to love your way –the better way, looking forward to your second advent of your Kingdom fullness. In the meantime, we walk together…

November 20, 2015
Advent 2015 -Introduction