We are to become like the awed and the open, like those blinking their eyes at the wonder of life. Do this, Jesus counsels, and then we shall enter most fully what God sets before us. Not long before his crucifixion, Jesus responds to those seeking dramatic signs of God's reign:
"The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you" (Luke 17:20-21).
Be open, Jesus counsels. Be attentive. Be aware! The reign of God is in our very midst.
- Stephen Doughty, Discovering Community
We light a candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark. But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master. The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:
See! The ruler of the earth shall come, the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exileWe must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle. We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten - doing all these works hastens His coming.
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.
"Hastens His coming..." Hmmm, I suppose traditionally that has referred to His "second coming" at the end of time. I wonder if it means much more than that - if it refers to His coming now, in us, in the world through us. I think it does. I think it's calling for His Kingdom to come - "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..." Yeah, that. Right NOW! Right HERE! More and more and more - fuller and fuller - until we are swallowed up in it and it overflows in the world. I pray we see that and allow that to happen during this season. - Alan Creech