We're a month away from Christmas. But, according to the church calendar, we are entering Advent. The gospel reading this week is apocalyptic, not sentimental.
Jesus first spoke to people who had the memory of the loss of Jerusalem before and their return to exile, to people, who now were in a kind of exile--they lived in the land but were ruled by an occupying power.
By the time that Luke wrote his gospel, these hearers would have experienced the downfall of the temple. We are reading these words today of uproar in nature--signs in the sun, moon, and stars, roaring seas, shaken heavens, and recognize that Advent in the church is not Christmas in the department store.
Luke is speaking to people living in a tough time. He's says that everything is going to change, that the Son of Man is coming, and that their redemption is drawing near.
In the November 12, 2009, issue of Christian Century , Leonard Beechy quotes Walter Brueggemann, "Jesus' ministry takes place between the clinging and the yearning." He then adds:
That's also where we find ourselves in Advent, in the time between the times when the veil between worlds grows thin and the holy calls to us from the world to come. It is both an evening time and a morning time, when we learn what we must relinquish and to what we must open our hands, what is dying, and what is being born.Lectio Divina: Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise our heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).
Lectio Divina: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me (Luke 21:1-2).
For all of us who are weighed down by problems caused by oppressors or by our own foolishness, we can look forward to an overturning of the way things are, look forward to Christ's changing everything.