Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Walker’
[09DEC2011] Advent – Week 2: Readings, Reflection, & Prayer
♦ Psalm 31 ♦ 35
Watch ye, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cock crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. Prepare ye the way for the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Our King and Savior draweth nigh: O come, let us adore him.
Jesus’ life began in a stable and ended on the cross between two criminals. The Apostle Paul said he wanted to proclaim nothing but this crucified Christ. We, too, have nothing to hold on to except this Christ. We must ask ourselves again and again: Are we willing to go his way, from the stable to the cross? As disciples we are not promised comfortable good times. Jesus says we must deny ourselves and suffer with him and for him. That is the only way to follow him, but behind it lies the glory of life — the glowing love of God, which is so much greater than our hearts and our lives. (J. Heinrich Arnold, “From the Stable to the Cross,” in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas [Orbis Books, 2004], 107)
We’re coming up on fourteen days of Advent meditation. Personally, I have been intentionally peering through the lens of Christ’s coming; the prophetic historical coming some two-thousand years ago, the prophetic return of the glorified King of the Eternal Forever, and the coming of Christ whose Spirit dwells within me…leading, guiding, securing my soul day by day and minute by minute. I continue to be surprised and amazed with the many ways God speaks; “I was here…” “I AM here…” “I AM coming here again” Everywhere I look I see the signs of God’s Presence. Everywhere I listen, I hear the sounds of God’s voice. The irony of these observations is found in the seeming obliviousness to these “God sightings” of so many of my fellow human beings. That isn’t intended as a critical finger-point at anyone, but a quick look through the headlines of the world and national news doesn’t reflect any information about the coming of our Lord or His imminent return. Actually, the contrary is true. There seems to be a flood of any and all information that would detract attention from Jesus. Sure, there’s Christmas the holiday, but it really is a far cry from a true celebration of the Christ-child. Christmas today is about consumption in every sense of the word not the things that Jesus promoted. But anyway… that’s not the direction I was headed when I started this post.
What continues to beat at the walls of my heart is the duality of the Advent. I suppose what I mean by duality is the double nature of the coming of Christ. God came to be born in the flesh, but in a sense he died to his divinity to come in the first place…then as he lived, he lived toward the cross knowing that was the penultimate pinnacle of his life because the resurrection would, in fact, be the pinnacle. It is a mystery that explodes incomprehensibly in my brain: death, life, death, life…an incredible epic duality of existence.
I mentioned a song last week or so ago titled Bethlehem (click here) that was an imagined narrative of the thoughts of Christ before he descended from heaven to be born a human. Those song lyrics provide a powerful image of what might have been the “mind of Christ.” Meditating on those words have been a somber and glorious prayer time for me over the past several days. A second song we’ve practiced for our upcoming Christmas concert is one by Tommy Walker, He Came. In that song there is a pre-chorus that exclaims, “From his throne, to the earth, to the cross, back to life; Now he lives in us, He came to be with us!” The cycle of death, life, death, life is there too. It is the message that Jesus taught to everyone he met while he walked the earth. If you want to find your life, you must lose it. Christ came: to cradle to Cross. Jesus teaches that the very first step of becoming his disciple is the denial of self. His words teach us (Luke 9:23-25) that without our own cross, without our own “Golgotha” there is no intimate friendship with him (Luke 14:25-33)…and subsequently, no glorious resurrection. Resurrection to new life requires the death of the old… and this is the Christmas Story. You see, it doesn’t begin with black friday. Christmas begins with the humbling of our God (Philippians 2:5-9) who was born of a woman. The Christmas story proceeds through a very real Good Friday and climaxes on an Easter (Resurrection morning)…death, life, death, life… until he came again to live in us on Pentecost (“Now He lives in us!”). And we wait now; we wait for his imminent return with the knowledge and witness of his presence inside each one who believes and receives the Pentecost blessing of the Holy Spirit.
I leave this meditation with two additional Scripture passages playing in my heart and mind.
“What sorrow awaits you… Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” -Jesus (Matthew 23:27-28)
Lord, help us to rein in all the distractions that bombard us daily. Let us pay our full attention to you. Let us truly listen to your requests. Keep us from the shortsighted absurdity of bestowing our attention on wrong things. Grant us, O Lord, our God that we may await with eager hearts the coming of Christ, your Son, so that when he knocks he will find us watching and praying and singing his praises. This we ask you for the glory of your Name and the glory of your Kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.