11-29-19 - What Time Is It?

(You can listen to this reflection here.)

St. Paul has an answer for our subject line: “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” I get a kick out of all these “wake up” readings on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, just as we’re starting to clear the triptofan from our sleepy systems.

Some of us might relate to the rest of Paul’s comments too: “…let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” I don’t know if scarfing leftover stuffing qualifies as “gratifying the desires of the flesh,” but be warned.

In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus also talks about eating and drinking – amid dire warnings of destruction: “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.”

Advent I, which often falls on Thanksgiving weekend, is a rude awakening, a jolt back to reality. Get ready. Live ready. “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

I have tended to view Christ's impending return as more scary than joyous. As I get older, and the future of the human race and its habitat more precarious, I wonder what might be good about Christ coming back to ring down the curtain and roll up the sidewalks on this earthly life of ours. Do you fear that, or anticipate it? What would you not mind parting with? What would you miss very much?

If contemplating apocalypse is not your fancy today, here’s a more “here and now” question to ponder: what in your life do you think you need to wake up to? In what areas are you kind of snoozing, coasting, not really conscious, and you sense it’s time to become more aware and intentional? How might you become more focused in those areas?

One memorable Advent 5 o'clock service in Bethany, we placed alarm clocks all over set to go off at random times, just to reinforce the “wake up!” theme of the season. It was fun, as well as highly annoying. For better or worse, life presents us plenty of alarm clocks, and we can rarely predict when they’ll buzz or clang. What’s waking you up lately? Don’t hit the snooze button…

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