Advent: Unfulfilled Hope
"But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.
Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour
Matthew 24:36-44 NRSV
(A first Sunday of Advent Reading for the Revised Common Lectionary)
-Rev. Melissa Fain-
All of us, even the ones who feel utterly hopeless, hope for something. I know that sounds completely backwards. How can the hopeless hope? There have been writers throughout the ages that believe hope is a folly. Hoping for something that might never come is a waste of time. This is the truth I've learned by wandering in the darkness: When we give up our shining beacons of hope, festering and decrepit rocks of hope take their place.
Not all hope is good. Some hopes abscess and rot our culture. This happens when we hope for vengeance, or death. Both can be hopes, and both are not shining beacons of light.
I know what you might be thinking. Holy Chinchilla, Batman! That's too dark for Advent! If you know me, you know any trip into darkness is only to show you the light. Just hang in there with me, and I'll get there. I promise.
Between the end of the Old Testament, and the beginning of The Gospels four hundred years had passed. What had the people been hoping for? A warrior king. They wanted righteous judgement. What did they get? A fragile and innocent baby. In many ways, this was an unfulfilled hope, and that was good.
This season. let's assess our hopes and decide if they are the kind that God fulfills, or the kind we should put aside. We should seek the hope of an innocent and fragile baby, not the hope of a vengeful warrior king.
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