Posted by: Justin Wallace | December 23, 2009

Advent :: The Courage to Wait

We were given full permission by The Transforming Center and Ruth Haley Barton to use the following material. Ruth has written several books, the most recent being Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. You can sign up to receive e-reflections for free on the front page of the website.

We at Heart of Campus Ministry wanted to give you some material to chew on this Christmas break. Advent is a season of waiting…waiting on Jesus to arrive. Yes, the season of Advent is coming to a close, but, most of us in Campus Ministry are just now getting a chance to breath and reflect. So, we will look at some excellent material from The Transforming Center that will help us sit, wait, breath and rest…expecting Jesus to arrive right on time. Hopefully you’re taking time for yourself and with your families. Hopefully you’re finding rest. Hopefully you’re allowing God to pour Himself into you over the next couple weeks. We pray these posts will help you take time to reflect on the areas of your life that you need Jesus to invade. May God pursue you relentlessly these next two weeks. Grace & Peace!

Read Luke 21:25-28, 31

The Gospel reading for the first week of Advent is an alarming one–full of violent images and ominous predictions.  It is not one I would pick to kick off this holy season of quiet waiting; it seems like a very harsh beginning.  I would rather avoid the uncomfortable realities represented here and make a gentler transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

But the truth is, the scenario described in Luke 21 is much closer to real life than the dreamy images we often associate with the Christmas season. News reports are filled with images of the unresolved tensions of clashing nations, violent interpersonal conflicts, seas riled up with hurricane flooding, and the foreboding that goes along with an economic recession. At a personal level, we are plagued by confusion about conflicts we can’t resolve, fears about losing our job (if we have one) or finding a job (if we don’t), distress about our own failures and the failures of others, and questions that cause us to doubt the very Gospel message we preach.

On second thought, perhaps this passage is exactly where we need to be.  It helps us to be honest about our lives and those places that are full of confusion and distress, fear and foreboding.  It tells us that in the most distressing and violent-to-the-soul places we are to wait for the Son of Man to come into our lives with the power to heal and glory to illumine our darkness. And as spiritual leaders, these are the very places where we must call others to wait on God as well–the places where they feel most threatened, most disturbed and most confused.

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