Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A YouTube Advent Calendar: December 8

Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is utterly desolate; until the LORD sends everyone far away, and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land. Even if a tenth part remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains standing when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump.
-      Isaiah 6

Disaster is all around us. Where is our deliverance? Where is justice? How long must we wait?

We lose the ones we love—to disease, to violence, to natural disaster.

Advent is a time of waiting—waiting for the Messiah, waiting for the one who will save us and be our king. The king who was coming into the world is still coming … a deep mystery. How long must we wait?

In 2006, U2 and Green Day teamed up for an anguished anthem about Hurricane Katrina: “The Saints Are Coming.”

And way back in 1971, John Lennon urged us to “Imagine” a different world.

Too many people live their lives trying to get to heaven, as if anything they did could earn them a ticket. Too many people try to avoid hell, as if they could avoid God’s judgment completely. Ironically, this excessive focus on the afterlife often leads to fear, hate, and the mistreatment of others -- whether it's Al-Qaeda or Fred Phelps. What if we took heaven and hell out of consideration? How would we live our lives then?

Religion can be defined not simply as all human dealings with God, but more narrowly as the useless systems we create to try to "get right" with God ... not realizing that God already loves us infinitely, and that nothing can change that. What if we really believed this? How would it change the way we act toward God and toward everyone else on the planet?

John Lennon was assassinated thirty years ago today. Remember him in your prayers. Remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Remember Elizabeth Edwards. Pray for all those God is calling you to pray for.

The holy seed is its stump. Something new will grow from the ashes of our lives’ disasters. How long will it take? Wait for it.

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