Sunday, November 20, 2016

Year A, Advent 1, Matthew 24:36-44, Wait for it. . .

"For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near."

There is that moment.  A slight pause.  And then it happens.  Anticipation.  Hope, often mixed with a little fear.  Sometimes a lot of fear.

We were on a trip to the national youth gathering.  After an incredibly long journey on a bus full of kids, we stopped for a day at Six Flags in St. Louis.  One of the rides I went on was called "The Batman", a high speed roller coaster.  You strap in.  Slowly the cars start moving.  Up and Up.  Then, that moment.  You see before you the tracks starting to turn downward, and you know, that soon and very soon, its going to happen.  

"Has anyone told you that you have a heart murmur?"  Those words began a journey.  Visits to doctors.  One after another confirming a mitral valve failure.  "Is this something that we will just watch and that some day will have to be taken care of?"  "Oh, no, this needs to be dealt with now."  I entered the hospital.  Everyone who talked with me, asked the question, "And what are you here for today?"  Then to a room, being shaved from my neck down to my ankles.  (Except for the hair on my arms, which was left so that the nurses could tape the IVs and so that removing the tape would be so pleasurable.)  Wheeled down a corridor.  Say goodbye to Karla.  Into the room.  And then the moment.  The anesthesiologist sitting beside my bed, studying my chart.  "Let me give you a little something to help you relax. . ."

Another hospital.  Different reason.  Years of dealing with depression.  Too much drinking.  The door slammed behind us as I was wheeled into the psych ward.  A flurry of activity.  And then, the night.  That long night of anticipation.  What was going to happen, would happen soon.  Simultaneously not soon enough, and far too soon.  But it would happen.  The night was far gone, the day is near.

We come together in waiting.  

Advent.  Coming.  Advent.  Anticipation.  Advent.  Fear.  Advent.  Hope.

A remembrance of a prior coming.  So long ago.

An anticipation of what is yet to come.  Soon, but how soon, we don't know.

Will it be the beginning.  Or the end.  Truth is we don't know.  We just know that its coming.

For a while we will eat and drink, and plan for tomorrow.

And then comes the moment when we realize that planning for tomorrow is impossible, for that day is near and at hand.  Just a moment more.  Wait for it.

Stand there, be still, and behold the salvation of your God.

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