Eyes on the Control Panel Matthew 24:36-44

Happy Advent

Happy Advent, it’s the first Sunday of the church season.  Tis’ the season of watching and waiting for Jesus to come back, and the end of the world as we know it.  We people of faith are funny creatures, believing there is coming a time when life as it is now organized will come to an end.  We’re glad about it because we believe all things will be made new. 

In the text today, Jesus also suggests we should feel a sense of urgency about this impending event.  He also warns us of two ways of living in light of God coming again that won’t work; hyperactivity and inactivity.  We can be so busy with our own interests and forget the things of God.  Those living in the times of Noah are his examples of hyperactivity; going about life with no thought of the Source of life.  We can so withdraw in pondering the higher things; we’re caught off guard when God shows up.  Jesus gives an example of flying so high in our lofty thoughts that our inactivity causes us to be caught off guard as one is taken and the other left behind.Left Behind

We use hyperactivity and inactivity to try to remain in control.  We think if we stay busy enough or if we think through it enough, we’re in control.  Whatever illusions of control we have are just that, illusions.  Sooner or later, we will find ourselves vulnerable and broken, unable to secure our life.  Stuff happens: An accident takes a loved one; cancer saps us; a natural disaster sweeps us away; a partner jeopardizes our livelihood; markets crash, and our retirement is threatened.  Nothing is safe, including our own homeland, regardless of our hyperactivity or inactivity. 

Years ago a woman I served spun into a “psychotic grief”.  She was hit by the sudden death of her 52 year old husband.  She could no longer function.  Someone said about her, “It’s not that a husband died, it’s that her husband died”.  She explained, Marilyn always kept the perfect house, had the perfect children, a perfect lifeUnfortunately, life isn’t perfect.  Now she knows she doesn’t have everything under control.”

ControlIt’s emotionally healthy to admit we’re not in control.  It’s spiritually healthy to confess God’s in control.  We’re emotionally and spiritually better prepared for God to show up in our lives when ‘modus’ of ‘operandi’ is we are in the control of God’s gracious hands, and God could show up at any time. 

Jesus says in the parable the proper posture of the faithful is to be like a homeowner who watches to keep his house secure against a thief.  It’s odd to picture God invading our lives like a thief breaking into a house.  The point isn’t God is a criminal; scaring and stealing from us when God shows up. The point is: God’s arrival can’t be predicted any more than we can predict the next minute.  Thus, we’re to sit by the window; watching and waiting so the things that want to hurt us or steal from us won’t have their way.  We’re also be alert for God to show up, ready to welcome the One who is in control of all life and desires to fill our lives with grace filled gifts in endless ways.  Looking out Window

Richard Rohr gave birth to the Center of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Rohr seeks to help religious people reclaim their spiritual reason for existence-union with God.  He teaches tools of contemplation and action in order to facilitate our divine connection.  He says we must be contemplative at times of dusk and dawn, when we can’t see clearly.  During times of ambiguity, we’re to enter into a pose of pensiveness, seeking the light of clarity that God wants to shine.  He also teaches skills of action we employ in the light of day after hours of contemplation when life seemed so dark; so we can take actions that make a difference in our world.  Rohr says we stand in the middle of contemplation and action, balancing these two traits in order to be one with God; seeing with a third eye, as God sees our life and the world. 

Contemplation and Action

Let’s not treat Advent as a run-up to Christmas; giving us time to bone up on caroling.  Advent is a time of contemplating carefully about our current or next actions, so we’re recognized as God’s own, doing the things we would want God to find us doing when Christ comes again.  This means paying attention to our spiritual condition through prayer and solitude; listening for the voice of God.  It also means trusting that inner voice that speaks to us in surprising ways; so our actions reflect the presence of God in the world.  We balance life being: contemplative and active, prayerful and dutiful, compassionate of heart and passionate with our hands. 

Solitude prayerA quiet prayer is the simplest religious ritual to practice and the best way to prepare to hear the call of God.  Sitting in solitude open us up; making us a vulnerable blank slate.  Silence helps our ego and supposedly superior ways get out of the way, we are stripped of our explanations which rarely explain anything when we sit still and listen. 

HCI report may feel like a non-sequitur. While, the persons representing you in the HCI process are learning to how to have visioning conversations, they are also having a readying conversation.  The front burner talk in the group revolves around how can we spiritually ready ourselves so we will hear and respond to God showing up in our midst.  We are talking about simple things like seasons of prayer and times of holy listening.  There is no time better than now to begin.  I encourage everyone here this morning to pray during Advent in ways you never prayed before-daily, early, late, or with someone else.  I believe if we commits to daily contemplation until Christmas Eve we will be led into new actions that will sustain us well beyond the Christmas meal.  Hands Praying

We can’t secure our house of prayer by locking it from the inside.  A house of prayer is an open house; ready to receive a revelation of God’s love that shows up at surprising times, via surprising people, and in surprising ways.  Let’s start this season of Advent by coming to the table in prayer; repeating the words of the first century followers who greeted each other.  They said, “Maranatha”, Come Lord Jesus, come again and make us new.  We join that chorus, Come Lord Jesus, come again and make us new.

Come Lord Jesus

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Published in: on December 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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