The past five years, before moving to Blaine, my wife Sarah and I were in Vancouver attending Regent College finishing up Masters of Divinity (an overly glorious title indicating that we’ve read through the Bible cover-to-cover at least once). Well we were there we were part of Kitsilano Christian Community Church. This church is where we both did internships, got involved and were supported by one of the greatest small groups we’ve ever been apart of. We had all three of our kids well attending this church, and being out-of-towners, this church was our family. They helped us through seminary by nourishing our spirits and surrounding us with their care.
So when Pastor David Jenkins asked me to contribute to this year’s Advent reader even though it had been some months since I attended, I jumped at the chance. I was given a text reflecting on Jesus’ second coming. This is a layer of Advent that often gets ignored as we focus on Christ’s past incarnation, rather than his coming Glory. Since, as an Evangelical, I come from a tradition which is somewhat muddled in our thinking about the return of Christ, turning it into scare tactics or movies with contrived characters and bad acting, this was my rather playful way at trying to point at something else. Hope you enjoy!
“Always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident.”
To me biblical injunctions to ‘be good because Jesus is coming back when you least expect it’ sound an awful lot like this maternal saying. Life could be going merrily along when suddenly out of nowhere…the clouds part, Jesus flies right at you, snatching you from your home and dragging you to heaven. So be ready! The worst thing that could happen is that Jesus would come back, see the traces of what you have done and then He and your mother will be embarrassed.
There is more to it than that. The world is broken, full of wounded people, suffering, systemic injustice and evil. We have been betrayed by those we love; we watch as friends are mired in depression and addiction. We are powerless against the pain and injustice. We cry out, “How long O Lord?”
My prayer this Advent is that as we await the Lord’s coming, we long for it. The Jesus who saved us by his death and resurrection is not coming back to catch us in the act; rather he comes to ‘bring a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells.’ He comes to take all our brokenness and betrayal and bring healing and new life. In our waiting, we also work to bring his renewal to our neighbourhoods and our world. Ours is an active waiting. The Kingdom is not yet, but it is now! Come King Jesus!