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Word for the day


Waiting in darkness…

Waiting is not easy. Waiting in darkness is even harder. When the power goes out and we must scramble to find flashlights and candles and then wait for it to come back we get anxious. How long is it going to take? Life is disrupted and so many things do not work. 

Sometimes our life feels like a prolonged waiting in darkness. So many things are breaking down, all the time. Sometimes the entire world feels this way. You turn on the news and instantly you feel it. Anxiety is rising. Who knows what is coming next? 

Advent which is marked by four weeks before Christmas is also a time of waiting. But it is a different time of waiting. Not anxious, but hopeful. In the Christian tradition, Advent is waiting for the celebration of the birth of Christ and also waiting for the coming of Christ’s kingdom on Earth, Christ’s second coming, the judgment day, and the end of time. This kind of waiting can also be very anxious if we concentrate on the timing or the signs we associate with the end. “But about that day or hour,” as Jesus says, “no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Which means that all our predictions are just unhelpful speculations. 

Jesus instead wants us to be alert, watchful, and notice the signs of his kingdom coming. It is like with a fig tree, Jesus says, as soon as you see new leaves on the branches you know that seasons are changing. What are the signs of the Kingdom? Jesus spent his whole earthly life teaching us and showing us those signs. It is the Kingdom described in his parables. Jesus was showing these signs also in his acts of healing, in encounters with strangers. The kingdom of God, Jesus was saying, is like the healing of a paralyzed woman, the raising of a dead girl, like parties with the outcasts and sinners Jesus attended without shame. The kingdom of heaven is like when a shepherd goes to find a sheep that was lost. Or like when a father forgives and welcomes his prodigal son. It is like the outsider Samaritan who shows what true neighbor love looks like. You see the Kingdom when a master washes the feet of his disciples. You see it whenever those who were left out are invited to take part. Whenever this happens, whenever you see love doing its job you see the Kingdom coming.

 The scary things we see in the world, the wars and the unrest are signs of something else. They are the signs of resistance. The dying world, the world full of injustice, violence, greed, and evil feels threatened by Christ’s Kingdom. The old world resists the new world Christ brings to us. They are the same signs of opposition Jesus felt in his life when his love was rejected and feared. When those who preferred their safety and privilege tried to get rid of him and crucified him. 

Our task in this Advent is not to get obsessed with predictions or fascinated by the darkness that resists God’s love. Instead, let us be watchful and notice how the little seeds of love, peace, and grace grow in places we would never imagine. 


Rev. Tomas Pistora is pastor at Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Kenton.

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