#ChristianThing is the reflection for November 29, 2015. When we live life with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in view, how does that change what we do? Once again, the readings for the Sundays bring us face to face with the End Times, are they here? Listen here in this reflection by Mark Kurowski: Download it into your phone. #MSAWordfortheDay #MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Homily #ChristTheKing #King #PontiusPilate #Pilate #John #Being&Doing #ISIS #BlackLivesMatter
For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 11/29/2015 The 1st Sunday of Advent.
Please pause this audio and read Luke 21:25-36.
As I began to write this reflection, Turkey had just shot down a Russian aircraft in its airspace, Syrian refugees are still pouring into Europe, Presidential candidates in the United States of America are advocating a list of Muslims and that they wear badges to indicate they are Muslim, fornication between our young unwed couples coming home for Thanksgiving is being accepted as the norm, people have been contacting me from war torn parts of the world for spiritual direction, places where it is better to kill the one who is not like you than to understand the one who is not like you, and then there is ISIS. In short, like they used to say back in the day, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Well, it at least can feel that way. It can be hard for us to do the Christian thing.
There is a reason for this you know. Let me show you by example. In the Church, the First Sunday of Advent is the beginning of the Christian Year. It is the end of the secular year and fiscal year in the world. The color for Advent is purple. Purple is the color of Royalty (Jesus is the King) and the color of fasting. In the world, it is a time when the dollar is king and we should ramp up our consumption to buy Christmas presents, go to office parties and gorge ourselves, meet with family to expand our waistlines as we contemplate our New Year’s resolutions. In the Church, “Advent” means “Coming,” as in “Second Coming”. In the world, Advent is a time just before Christmas where the Messiah comes as a meek and lowly baby who seems not to be a threat to anyone.
[My friend] Friends, it has always been this way. It will always be this way. Last week, we celebrated that Jesus Christ is our King and we remembered that we are citizens of heaven. We value life, all life. We value love, not power. We value generosity, not selfishness. We value goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control, not self-interested selfishness dressed up as “rugged individualism”. We value self-sacrifice for the whole over climbing the ladder or increasing the profits by laying off workers. We value justice, over lip service. We value honesty over pension rip offs and privatization. If we live this citizenship of heaven right, we don’t fit in this world.
We are citizens of heaven and the world is ruled by original sin. Original sin is the selfish pride that places the self above all else, regardless of what our decisions do to others, not to mention what they do to ourselves.
So, when there are wars and rumors of wars, signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves, why are we confused, People of God? Why are we thinking that somehow it all should be rosy and perfect like a Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye musical movie from the 1940s? Or, like a Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movie from the 1990s? Or, like a Pixar movie with toys, cars, planes, and feelings, expressing feelings?
Life is raw. It is true what Machiavelli, Marx, Kant, Nietzsche, and others have seen about life. When left to be their own rulers, in the church, outside of the church, in Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Atheism, Spiritualism, or whatever “-ism”, people are constantly trying to increase their own power. In the midst of this, we are called to be a different kind of people who suck the power out of seeking power by not wanting power. We don’t need power because all the power we need is through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Whatever we need, we simply ask the Father in Heaven until our King comes again. Our ruler is not of this world and thus, the rulers of this world lose their mystique around us.
Yet, it can be a wearying thing to be a Christian in the midst of a world the keeps promoting the idea of the movies when it is, in fact, sinful and mean. We can be seduced into not wanting to do the Christian thing. It is the promise of the Second Coming of our King, when we will be reunited with our renewed and transformed bodies, be judged to live with Jesus in the New Heaven and the New Earth, that keeps us going. When I see all this sinful world stuff going on, I have one response: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
In fact, Jesus says to us today, it is exactly when we feel that the world is “going to hell in a handbasket” that we ought to raise our heads, look for the King, and do our “Christian thing.” In the face of a bad boss, bad government, bad business, bad coworkers, bad family, bad friends, or bad anything, we ought to do our Christian thing. In the face of injustice in our neighborhood, our town, our world, we ought to do our Christian thing. When people are denying that God exists, we MUST do our Christian thing. When there are wars, rumors of wars, “signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves,” we MUST do our Christian thing.
We MUST do the Christian thing because somehow, somewhere, there has to be hope. Hope cannot come from a system of corruption. Hope can only come from the purity, justice, and love of God who made heaven and earth, which will pass away, but the words of Jesus will not pass away. We who await his coming, we are tasked with creating outposts of purity, love and justice where the reign of Christ the King who is coming again reigns. It is because you are the light of the world, a City shining on a Hill, that you must live your life to inspire the world. Can you embrace the Christian thing?
We await a time when our struggle for goodness will enter into a time of rest. Until then, we have this promise, this hope, this meaning of life. When we embrace it, then every little moment is precious and can be turned into goodness.
Can you embrace your Christian thing this moment? Do it. Embrace it as you look up and wait for the Coming of our King. Amen.
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