Advent has begun! For most people, however religious or irreligious you are, this just means it’s time to prepare for Christmas. …But there’s a whole side of Advent that we’re missing.
Advent 2: The second coming
“Advent” means “coming,” referring of course to the coming of Christ. But the Advent season calls us not only to look back to the First Advent, but also to look forward to the Second Advent: namely, the second coming of Christ.
Holy Rapture, Batman! Didn’t we just get past end-of-the-world silliness? Well, it was silly. And part of the silliness is treating the second coming of Christ as “the end of the world.” I blame fire-and-brimstone preachers, and bad movies. Why is it the end of the world? Why not the beginning of the world?
What do you expect to happen when Christ returns? What will end, and what will begin? We can look for clues in the first coming.
Advent 1: The first coming
Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, began his ministry by reading this passage of Isaiah and declaring that it was fulfilled:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
(Luke 4:18-19, New Living Translation)
There we have it, the kingdom of God: where what God wants to happen, actually happens.
- Good News brought to the poor.
- Captives released.
- The blind see.
- The oppressed set free.
- Time for God to do his thing!
These are the things I expect when Jesus comes again. This will be the new beginning.
Caught in-between two advents
But wait, didn’t Jesus say this was already fulfilled? Well, yeah, but look around. Apparently when Jesus proclaimed the coming of God’s kingdom, it was just the start. Because here we are, stuck between the First Advent and the Second Advent. What are we supposed to do?
The same thing Jesus did, folks. That’s what apprentices of the Master do: they copy the Master. And what did the Master do?
Step 1: He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Step 2: He brought the kingdom of God.
We need to start back at step one. Proceed to step two when you’re ready.
Only then will we be prepared for the Second Advent.
++ We stand in the in-between time. Come, Lord Jesus! Fill us with your Spirit. Then send us as your agents of subversive healing, to bring love, light and hope to a world longing for new beginnings. ++
Where do you need a new beginning?
See also: Missional Advent Candles Meaning
This is my contribution to the Advent Synchroblog “Jesus Is Coming: What Do You Expect?” Here are the other participants:
- Ron Cole at The Weary Pilgrim – advent: reimagining everything
- Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – expect the unexpected
- Sarah Styles Bessey at Emerging Mummy – in which i’m expecting something from advent
- Miz Melly at Perchance to Dream – parousia
- Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head – present, humble, vulnerable
- David Perry at Visual Theology – Advent As A Mirror of Possibility
- Christine Sine at Godspace – Jesus Is Coming What Do We Expect?
- Liz VerHage at Living Theology
- Sally Coleman at Sally’s Journey – Come Spirit of Advent
- Jeremy Myers at Till He Comes – Jesus Is Returning Today
- Glenn Hager – Antithetical Advent
- Tammy Carter at Blessing The Beloved – His Gift … the way of escape!
- Ellen Haroutunian – Remember Our Story
- Carol Kuniholm at Words Half Heard – What I’m Waiting For
- Mihee Kim-Kort – Advent Expectations: Keep Awake
- Wendy McCaig – We’re Expecting A Baby
- Dave Wainscott – For Advent I’m Expecting What I Desire and What I Deserve
- David Henson – Reflections on the Second Sunday of Advent