The darkness of Advent and communal lament

“Unlike American Christianity, the Bible is not individualistic, but thoroughly social in its orientation. When the Church groans with Isaiah, ‘Thou hast hid they face far from us,’ it speaks as a corporate body with a common lot. If one suffers, all suffer.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Christ 

Breaking the Heart of God

John 3:16-21 was in our Advent reading for yesterday. What great HOPE… and what great disappointment… can be found in these few verses!

There is the great hope of God’s love. He loved this world so much he gave his son. The hope of this world is LIFE in Christ. Jesus’ intention is not to condemn.

These are incredible words.

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that world might be saved through him.” (v. 17)

That just has to disappoint the Fred Phelps crowd.

But before the universalists rejoice, there is another sobering thought in this passage.

“For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.” (v. 20)

God’s great love is extended to them. He calls out with the hope of redemption. And they refuse.

Talk about breaking the heart of God!

There are people who would rather embrace their own darkness that receive the incredible light of God. In this Advent season, let the light of the Savior come into your world and bring hope once again. God’s heart is that you don’t love the darkness more than you love his light.

He came. He offered.

It’s your call.

Nothing Good Happens at 2 a.m.

There was a radio show that ran in the Twin Cities called “Garage Logic.” I think it still runs in a smaller time slot, but the station has been taken over by sports talk and “Garage Logic” has been severely scaled back.

The premise of the show was just common sense. One of their favorite sayings was that “Nothing good happens at 2 a.m.” In other words, just tell your kids to get home at a decent hour.

It is generally true. Murders, muggings, anything that might be something serious in our city generally has a time frame of midnight to 5 a.m. When our boys were first learning to drive there was a tragic story in our own neighborhood where some kids convinced their friend (a new driver) to sneak his dad’s car keys and go for a joy ride. The joy ride ended up in all four of them killed as they wrapped the car around a light pole. It was around 3 a.m.

Common sense. We seem to lack it these days.

There are certain things that are labeled as “part of the night” because the historical connotation is that very little good happens in the context of the night.

This is Paul’s warning in 1 Thessalonians 5. Again, we have tended to SCARE each other with these passages, but Paul again says, “Comfort each other” with these words!

It’s simple. There are things that happen that are labeled as “darkness.” Paul says it’s not a worry because you are not of that darkness. If you are in the light you don’t act that way. It’s fairly simple. That’s how you comfort each other in these last days! Just BE LIGHT.

But, we as the Church seem to be caught up in being “dark” to the world. We want to be liked so desperately we’ll do “dark” stuff. We brag on it. We revel in it. We cheer it on. And forget that “nothing good happens at 2 a.m.”

Then, we get smacked down or smacked around from playing a “dark” game and we look around like, “What happened?”

Well, you were out at 2 a.m., spiritually speaking.

We need to heed these words again in our own lives as we contemplate ADVENT:

All of you are children of light and children of the day. We don’t belong to night or darkness. So then, let’s not sleep like the others, but let’s stay awake and stay sober. (1 Thess. 5:5-6, CEB)