"The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what GOD is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him" - Eugene Peterson
Friday, December 14, 2012
Waiting In Openness
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me (Revelation 3:20).
Advent, which simply means “coming”, is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Advent reminds us, year in and year out, to wait for the coming of Jesus. It assures us that the first time Jesus came as a suffering Servant and the second time He will come as the reigning King. But what about the here and now? How are we to wait in the 'in-between'?
The Advent season (the days leading up to the Christmas day) is not about waiting hopelessly or idly. It is not meant for killing time by shopping and partying. This waiting is not a time to indulge in sluggishness or self-centeredness. This waiting involves an active presence. Eugene Peterson who is a pastoral theologian and author writes, “Waiting does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that GOD will provide the meaning and the conclusions.”So if waiting is an active presence and it is going about assigned tasks with confidence in GOD, what does it look like? In Revelation 3:20 we see that Jesus stands at our door knocking. He comes knocking in the form of a homeless person asking for help. He comes knocking in the form of our family member asking for attention. He comes knocking in the form of a colleague needing you to listen. He comes knocking in the form of a child requiring patience. He comes knocking in the form of a friend longing for acceptance. He comes knocking in the form of an enemy offering forgiveness. He comes knocking in the form of a stranger crying for justice.
Jesus is constantly knocking our doors at home, in work and while at play - in every person you and I meet. In theologian Dietrich Bonheoffer’s words, “As long as there are people, Jesus will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom GOD calls you, speaks to you, makes demand on you.” This precisely is the essence of actively waiting in openness, by opening the door for others we open the door for Jesus.
Today, Jesus wants us to wait in openness. He is standing at the door and he comes to us in and through people. How are we responding? Are we acknowledging him? Do we make time to engage in a conversation? Are we rolling up our sleeves to help? Are we stirred up for justice? Do we close or open the door for Jesus?
When all is said and done, may we hear Jesus say to us:
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me’ (Matthew 25).