Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why are we waiting?

Waiting for Christ’s second coming and waiting for the resurrection are one and the same. The second coming is the coming of the risen Christ, raising our mortal bodies with him in the glory of God. Jesus’ resurrection and ours are central to our faith. Our resurrection is as intimately related to the resurrection of Jesus as our belovedness is related to the belovedness of Jesus. Paul is very adamant on this point. He says: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ cannot have been raised either, and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without substance, and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).

Indeed, our waiting is for the risen Christ to lift us up with him in the eternal life with God. It is from the perspective of Jesus' resurrection and our own that his life and ours derive their full significance. “If our hope in Christ has been for this life only,” Paul says, “we are of all people the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:18). We don’t need to be pitied, because as followers of Jesus we can look far beyond the limits of our short life on earth and trust that nothing we are living now in our body will go to waste.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

In Advent we take nothing for granted and we rely wholly and solely on God’s promise to be birthed anew in our imaginations, ready for the next phase of our journey in discipleship and mission. So now we pause and come to a stop. Nothing moves. Silence descends… we can hear the soft, quiet sounds of longing all around and beyond us and discern the far-off cries of need echoing across the night sky. It is good to stop and wait. Only then can the way ahead become clear.

Dave Perry, ‘Signalling Advent

There is disclosed in Jesus a free activity of God which culminates in the surrender of freedom, in the handing over of Himself, in a willed transition to passion. Jesus destines Himself, by His own will, to wait upon the decisions and deeds of men: He works, one might say, towards a climax in which He must wait. If the truth of God is disclosed and the glory of God is manifest in Jesus, then the truth of God must be this, and the glory of God must appear in this—that God so initiates and acts that he destines Himself to enter into passion, to wait and to receive.

WH Vanstone, The Stature of Waiting, p.94

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