By Sydney Gautier
Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake - for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning - lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake. Mark 13:33-37
One thing I am absolutely terrible at is waiting. My husband would be the first to agree with me on that. I hate it. Waiting for dinner to be ready, waiting to hear back after a job interview, waiting for a score on a test . . . I do not do it well. It’s probably because I can be so impatient, and also because I hate the feeling of not knowing. The feeling after an interview; the interview is over, but now you’re stuck in this in-between time where you’re waiting to hear from the potential employer but you don’t know when that will be…or what they will say. The struggle. Or on a larger scale, Barry talked about how we wait for oppression to end, for hate to end, for pain to end.
This past Sunday at New Circle, Barry kicked off the Christmas season by starting a series on Advent, a season of waiting, to help us focus on Christ. But like we already established, waiting isn’t easy. Advent is an invitation to wait to empathize with those who were waiting for the birth of the Messiah. In the passage above, Mark 13, the people who were hearing Jesus’ words were oppressed, and they were waiting for freedom, for someone to save them. They expected a military ruler, however, Jesus came and did so much more. He conquered sin and death and redeemed us, but waiting for this was hard.
We live in a time called, “the already, but not yet.” It means that Jesus is already and will continue to be victorious, sin and death have been conquered, but this hasn’t been fully realized because we are still waiting for the second coming. Life is still hard because we’re hanging in that in-between time. Jesus already came, but now we are waiting for his return. And during this “already but not yet” time, life will get harder before it gets easier. But as we wait, we can rest in the fact that God will intervene, making all things new.
Barry talked about how Advent is an invitation to live our lives actively (not passively) waiting for the second coming. He described passive waiting as someone waiting during the spring for the water to get warm enough to fish. Active waiting would be someone in their boat, fishing pole in hand, reeling in their line hoping to catch a fish. In our faith, we can sometimes find ourselves doing more passive waiting than active waiting, but God says from the throne, “Behold, I am making all things new. (Revelation 21:5) Barry pointed out that this has already been done, but it hasn’t fully happened yet. What’s really awesome is that God involves us in making all things new, He gives us roles to play. So during advent, we are invited to be more active in our waiting, using our gifts and passions to glorify God, to worship the Lord and share the gospel with others. We are not to just sit back and wait and watch from a distance, but to take part in this incredible story. What can you do this week to be active in this season of waiting?