Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?- Reflections - 11-27-2016

 Texts for Sunday, November 27, 2016

 Isaiah 2:1-5
 Psalm 122
 Romans 13:11-14
 Matthew 24:36-44

 Does anybody really know what time it is?

Ah, the sixties! They were full of existential questions.  This one, from a song by the group Chicago, ran through my head all week after reading the texts for this Sunday.  

Standing at the beginning of the new church year, on the first Sunday of Advent which begins to prepare us for Christmas, we really don’t know what time it is. Advent transports us across all time or in-between all times. In one moment, this season focuses on the time Jesus came (Christmas) and the time that Jesus will come (end time) and this moment when Jesus is here (now) and let’s not forget the time Jesus wasn’t here but expected. Baffled? I think that might be the point. Does anybody really know what time it is?

In Sunday’s texts Paul says we DO know what time it is so wake up; Matthew tell us we DON’T know what time it is, so stay alert. Isaiah says that the time coming points to God’s dreams and promises for time; incredibly, we won’t need swords and war will be no more. Living in between times means that God’s radical dreams include the here and now.

Things seem especially uncertain for our nation right now; we are undergoing a major transition in leadership and the future direction is unclear. Plowshares instead of swords and arbitration between people instead of conflict all sound really good. It is good to hear again that the future does not ultimately rest in human hands. One of the big words for Advent is hope.

In another song, this lesser known one is by John Ylvisaker, we hear that we are: 
Living in the chronos (clock time) 
waiting for the kairos (God’s time), 
soon to be the telos (end time) 
end of all the chaos.

Until then, says Isaiah, walk in the light; Paul says put on the armor of light and live honorably. The secret, I think, is that “staying alert, watchful, and ready” doesn’t just apply to just watching for the “end time”. We don’t know when that will be. But we do know that God’s time is happening in the midst of clock time. We can be assured that Jesus will appear right here and now in those who are “hungry, naked, sick, and imprisoned” (Matthew 25).

Your comments are always welcome.

More reflections found at G.I.F.T. post for Sunday, November 27.

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