weekly theme #3 The Coming Of Christ*
week containing the third Sunday in Advent
I have met people so focused on Jesus’ second coming that they fail to sense him right now. Jesus’ first coming brought flesh and blood to prophesies in the Old Testament, and the invisible God became tangible. Yes, I am supposed to look forward to his return to earth, but I must also live as he so clearly taught and exemplified. Giving my attention to what is around me, as well as to the sky, actually hastens the answer to his prayer of “your Kingdom come, your will be done – on earth as it is in heaven”.
As soon as I sat down this morning for my Time With Father, I told him, “God, I’m having real trouble with this idea of watching for your second coming.” I had this image of sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch staring at the sky – watching for his return, but when I read Ezekiel 34:1-10 and Luke 12:42-48 things started falling into place. I “watch” for his return by doing his work. I remembered Jesus’ parable about the owner of land turning it over to his servants’ care. The owner did not want them standing around every day waiting for his return; he wanted them to care for what he had entrusted to them. However, in truth, my work is most often a distraction from my watching. It is when my “watching” wanes the most.
For years, I have longed to have better communication with God. In church language, I wanted to “be constantly in prayer”. (I wrote about this situation just last week – #2 Preparing The Way.) Words from Brother Lawrence (he served in a Paris monastery in the 17th century) added some guidance to solving this dilemma. As I understand it, he intentionally set up reminders for prayer so that his day was repeatedly “interrupted” by prayer. Over time, each “interruption” became an anticipated oasis through the day. Gradually he found himself conversing with God between these “assigned” times, making prayer a majority of his day. And when he entered a task that might take his full concentration, he asked for his work to be an acceptable prayer. This makes “constantly in prayer” and “always watching” seem reachable to me.
*A Guide To Prayer For Ministers And Other Servants by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.