Tuesday, December 03, 2013

To my soul, during Advent

Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Since you want to be amongst those who are saved, consider how you can stir yourself up to eagerly await the return of Christ.  You know very well how hard it will be.  You know all of the distractions - sinful things and things which are in themselves good - which you habitually use to keep your mind in the present and on the earth, away from endings and ultimate things.  But for this season, please, spend some time thinking about reality.

Meditate on the terrible things that happen in the world.  Consider that evil people prosper, and those who want to do good are often powerless.  Think about the fact that wickedness is part of the warp and woof of human society, built in to the very structures designed to restrain it.  Do not excuse these things, or resign yourself to them, but consider evil to be evil in truth.  Remember that only the coming of Christ will do away with wickedness, and only the coming of Christ will bring down those who do rather well for themselves out of their evil.  And pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus' - without vindictiveness towards those you see as evil, for who knows what side of the divide they will stand on in the end; but with compassion towards those who are broken by the sinfulness of humanity.

Consider the groaning of creation.  Think about each 'natural' disaster, and remember that it isn't natural.  Each terrible headline speaks of the bondage of creation, of the hideous ripples spreading out through all of created reality from the first sin of humanity.  Remember that only Jesus will bring creation to its longed for rest, and pray 'Come, Lord Jesus' - with hope for a renewed and perfect world.

Spend some time reflecting on your own sinfulness.  Think how many times you have failed your own standards, and then remember that your standards are far too low.  Think about how often you have had to cry to God from the depths of sin for mercy.  Consider the ongoing corruption in your heart, that taints even the good things you try to do.  Think about how hard it is to pray, how difficult to praise, how painful to serve.  Remember that only Jesus can deliver you from that wretched man, yourself, and pray 'Come, Lord Jesus' - in expectation of your own perfection.

Think about the face of Christ.  You have not seen it yet, but you know that one day, when he appears, your transformation will be complete as you see him as he is.  And pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus' - knowing that that will be heaven.

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