A WAITING PEOPLE
Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2015
During the last ten minutes of a recent visit, and sensing my concern for her well-being, my 90-something-year-old widowed mother asked: Would you be more comfortable if I were to leave the house and move to assisted living? Honestly…the answer is both YES! and NO! I would certainly feel more comfortable knowing that she has people around keeping her safer than she is living on her own. On the other hand, she would not only be leaving HER home…but…she would be leaving MY home as well. Somehow, knowing that my childhood home has always been there when I needed it has made it easier to reside in and MOVE from rectory to rectory as my pastoral assignments have changed. I’ve always had “home” during these years of temporary residences. And so the prospect of Mom MOVING is as jarring to me as it is to her. The reality is, however, there is no such thing as a permanent “dwelling place” in this world. All of our residences are temporary.
The Readings for the First Sunday in Advent invite a reflection on the very human experience of MOVING towards the anticipated arrival of Christ, Who will invite us to a place of permanent perfection from which we will never again have to move. When Christ returns, there will be no more WAITING and no more MOVING…only the splendor and glory of God for all eternity. Even knowing this to be true, it is still hard to accept that our earthly lives are all about change…in appearance, health, energy level and homes! The reality is, each day, we move closer to being re-settled from time and into eternity, which makes the appearance of John the Baptist on this Second Sunday in Advent especially meaningful. He challenges us to CHANGE in ways that will MOVE us closer to Christ and make us worthy to make our permanent home in the safety of the Kingdom…surrounded by the angels and saints.
His voice, calling out into the wilderness where the people of Israel found themselves stranded, roused them out of their slumber and called them to MOVE. John’s voice caught their attention and prompted them to STAND AND MOVE toward the cleansing waters of the Jordan River. There, another Voice…The Voice from heaven, confirmed that Jesus of Nazareth had finally arrived, bringing with Him all they had been WAITING and hoping and praying for. For those wise enough to listen, the waiting was indeed over and they STOOD AND MOVED towards The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
The season of Advent reminds us that in a very real way, we are still a WAITING PEOPLE. While it is true that what we have been waiting for…salvation…has already arrived, there is more to come. We continue to wait for Christ’s return in glory. Having passed through the cleansing waters of Baptism, we should not be clinging to the places and things that we find comfortable. Only Christ offers lasting comfort and perfect peace. During Advent, we hear the echo of the Baptist’s voice, calling us to STAND AND MOVE towards THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS…when there will be an end to all waiting. …and all moving!