Advent and the Apocalypse

In Luke’s gospel, when Jesus speaks apocalyptically of “signs in the sun and moon and stars” and the “distress of nations,” he ends by saying that humanity “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25–27). He is speaking of himself and his Second Coming. He’s telling us that our great hope comes not through any human development but through himself. He possesses sovereign power that is independent of human history. In spite of all appearances to the contrary, in spite of the apparent darkness, God in Christ is shaping our history in accordance with his divine purposes.

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God is not silent

“The Christian faith has not been invented in order for us to claim for ourselves a powerful God who will push the delete button on all our enemies. The Christian faith is, rather, grounded in the story of that One who, against all human reason, emptied himself of his glory and came into our desert places, midnight to the north of him, midnight to the south of him, to stand under the wrath of God in place of the murderers of Rwanda and us sinners inside these four walls today.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent

Advent — the now and the not yet

“In this season, the church celebrates two things: God has already acted definitively on our behalf, and God will act definitively in the future to bring his purposes once and for all. That is what it means to watch and wait for the second advent of Christ, not matter how long it takes.” — Fleming Rutledge, Advent

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The church has its own calendar

“There is no way for the church to adjust its calendar to the world’s calendar. The church is not part of the American culture, (Read that sentence ten times!) and never should should have been. The church keeps her own deep inner rhythms.” — Advent, Fleming Rutledge

Advent is a time of darkness, waiting, and anticipation. It is something I am still trying to grasp as I walk in this Anglican Way. I pray every day to embrace it more.

Advent, darkness, and bearing each other’s burdens

“… those who are better off stand shoulder to shoulder with those who suffer. No one is fee until all are free. No one is safe until all are safe. No matter how ‘up’ I may feel personally, my place as a Christian in the larger scheme of things is not to bask in the continual sunshine of God’s presence, but, in repentance and prayer, to come alongside those who bewail the seeming absence of God. Pascal wrote, ‘Every religion which does not affirm that God is hidden, is not true.'” (Advent, Fleming Rutledge)

Life goals

I am working my way through Fleming Rutledge’s wonderful work on Advent (again). There was a description she gave of John Stott that stood out to me and I have set it in the form of a question for my life. Could this be my eulogy?

Will I have a single-hearted devotion to the glory of God and the spread of the gospel?

(LIFE GOALS)

What is freedom?

“Freedom in Christ is to be released from perpetual inner conflict into ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:21) where we are enabled to live, not by our own tyrannical wishes, but for the love of others.” — Fleming Rutledge