Reflections...

Meditations, Reflections, Bible Studies, and Sermons from Kowloon Union Church  

“Live Patiently in the Lord”

A sermon preached at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday 7 December 2014, Second Sunday in Advent, by the Rev. Dr. John LeMond. The scripture readings that day were Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8.


In the season of Advent we wait for our Lord to come

But the coming of the Lord is often tied together

With the end of the world as we know it.

Last week, in the reading from Mark

We were told by Jesus to stay awake

That there is something coming that will surprise us

And in the Sundays preceding Advent

We read of the time when there will be a judgment of all humanity.

Laying each of these themes side by side

We come to a clearer picture of the central meaning of Advent.

According to the early Christians,

It was the fullness of time that was coming upon them.

And they expected it at any moment.

It was a time when all the old, bad things would disappear

And a time of complete righteousness would exist…

A time of complete unity, harmony and peace with God.
It would be a new reality,

In which they themselves would be righteous:

Right with God.

It was in this sense that

The early Christians hoped for the end of the world as they knew it.

Of course, they lived in a world

In which they were a persecuted minority.

They longed for Christ to return in power and great glory.

Yes, there would be suffering and darkness and confusion,

But that was only the first stage;

The darkness before the everlasting light of God’s kingdom;

Before the eternal union with God.

What happened to this hope of the early church?

What happened to the expectation

That everything will change

Suddenly and soon?

In fact, much of the once Christian world

Has now lost this hope of a coming savior.



The kingdom of God,

An earth of peace and righteousness

Have not materialized.

It’s an old dream, an old story,

Seen by many to be the worn-out belief of a past age.

But what about us?

As we sit here today

We seem to be saying by our very presence here

That we do see the world differently.

We might not expect the second coming of Jesus Christ

To happen tomorrow…although we think it might,

We aren’t sure.

And we aren’t sure what it will mean if Jesus does come again.

What would unity and harmony and peace with God look like?

The truth is, even we,

Who come together to worship the Lord of Advent,

Rarely spend time thinking about the second coming of Christ.

We are content with, or at least we accept,

Life as it is now.

We’ve learned to live with life as it is now.

Death concerns us far more than the second Advent of the Lord

Because death is constantly a part of our lives.

We see it, we experience it,

And so what we want to know desperately is:

What happens after death?

The Second Coming…is not a desperate question for us.

Of course, we do have hope that it will someday take place.

And that’s enough.

Hope is, after all,

The certainty of something that we have never seen.

In fact, it is the certainty of something

That our ancestors have never seen;

Something that our grandchildren for many, many generations might not see.

It might be another 2,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 years

Before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

Does it really make any difference?

No…and yes.


Peter says: No

It makes no difference to us how long before the expected reign of God

For, he says, with God one day is like a thousand years,

And a thousand years is like one day.

This is one of those scripture passages

That we sometimes quote when we need to.

It’s easy to remember,

But it often makes little or no impact on our lives.

What does it really mean?

What Peter is telling us is this:

That with God, time does not matter

Time is only a reality for us, and not for God.

It is not just that time is kind of strangely mixed up for God:

One and a thousand, a thousand and one.

No. It is that time itself has no meaning for God.

For us…it is everything.

What time is it?  What time should we meet?

How long did you live in that place?  How old are you?

Am I late?  Am I early?  Am I on time?

There were celebrations all over the world

When we entered into the 21st century,

As though some great boundary of time had been crossed.

When is Christ coming again?

When is the end of time coming?

When will God reign?

Will it happen before I die?

These questions concern us because time concerns us

We are obsessed with these questions because

We are obsessed with time.

But Peter assures us: God is not concerned with time

For God, one day is like a thousand years,

And a thousand years is like one day.

So, Jesus lived 2,000 years ago

Would that be 2 days for God

Or would it be 2 million years.

To ask an illogical question like this almost makes sense to us,

Because time makes sense to us.



But when time makes no difference

When there is no distinction between yesterday, today and tomorrow

When, in fact, there is no distinction

Between one day and one thousand years

No difference between 2,000 years ago and this present moment

No difference between 2,000 years ago—and 2,000 years from now

Then, we begin to see

That we live, not in anticipation of the coming of Christ,

But in the presence of Christ…at every moment.

We live in the presence of the crucified and risen Christ…now.

We experience the coming Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ…

At every moment.

And once we have understood this

Peter asks an important question:

If this is true…how should we live?

Does it make any difference that we have not seen the coming of God in our time?



In terms of time, Peter says, no.

But in terms of the way we live our lives

Yes.

It makes a difference,

Because we are called to live without seeing in time.

We are called to live

As though Christ’s death and resurrection are now

To live as though…

Christ’s second coming is now

To live as though…

God’s kingdom is now.

Peter reminds us

That we live in hope: believing without seeing

Knowing without understanding.

Trusting without demanding.

A life that reflects the time-less reality of God’s kingdom







Peter encourages us: Live in peace

Live in peace…

Because you live, right now

In this moment…

In the presence of…

Jesus born, Jesus among us, Jesus crucified and Jesus come again.

That is what we celebrate at Advent.

The timeless coming of God into the world.

The salvation of God is timeless…

Or as Peter puts it

The salvation of God is patient.

Live patiently in the Lord.

Live in peace.

Amen. 

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, December 07, 2014



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