The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
November 29, 2020 – First Sunday of Advent - Mark 13:33-37
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
At this moment we are back to the same place in the Universe in relationship to the sun that we were a year ago. But much has changed on our planet during its last annual solar circumnavigation. And if we are thoughtful (as most are), a lot has happened to each of us during the last year. Most agree it’s been a tumultuous year. Lots of challenges, and lots of sadness especially when we think about the pandemic now still raging. I’m thinking about a year’s passage because this Sunday marks the first day of the New Church Year.
The gospel message placed before us is timely and well worth our consideration. It recounts words of Jesus when he said: Be watchful! Be alert! For what, you might ask. Is there something on the horizon that might place us in danger? Some might remember the fears that some had when we entered the New Millennium. But little happened except changing our calendars.
I don’t think Jesus is talking about being alert to some new happening, but rather a reminder to sharpen our internal life, our awareness, our sense of God’s presence in us and all around us. In other words, with God being a part of what’s now happening all the time, we need reminders of this because we can easily slip into superficiality or be side-tracked by daily distractions. Or we simply forget.
We believe that God is not just a word or something or someone far away. Rather God is an immediate presence, powerfully creating and sustaining all that exists in creation.
God is not simply a larger version of ourselves. Theologians have described God as “wholly other” meaning that God is different from all that exists in creation. Yet God intentionally caused you and me (and everything else) to exist because God wanted to share life with us and sustain life in us. While this is a Great Mystery, we should not conclude that all this is totally unknowable. It’s simply more than our finite minds can know. We know it in pieces and fragments. Occasionally, during brief moments of inspiration and insight. Because these “clues” about God are usually fleeting, we need to be extra watchful and alert. Thus, the words of Jesus to be ready at all times.
As the New Church Year begins, it’s a fitting time to recalibrate the way we think about ourselves and the world we inhabit. Start by looking more deeply at those we live with. Where is God in them? Then do the same for yourself. A great New Year’s resolution.
© David M. Thomas, PhD