First Sunday in Advent, Year B

Inspired by Mark 13:24-37

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” Mark 13:32-33 (NRSV)

Have you ever been in a life-threatening situation? Your senses are heightened as adrenaline courses through your body, allowing you to be hyper-alert to your environment. This survival instinct can be helpful in certain instances when danger is immanent, however the human body is simply not designed to function at this level long-term. In this passage Jesus seems to be advocating for living under constant threat. The end can come at any time—watch out! Be on your best behavior!

Or is he? Do we only act the way we’re called to when we think someone is watching? The Christian life is about one’s whole outlook, one’s entire being. Being the recipient of God’s enduring love is not supposed to be stress-inducing, but life-giving! The coming of God’s reign is not a threat, but a promise. Christianity is not about where we go when we die, but about how we live now. So don’t worry about the end-times; we don’t know when they’ll be anyway. Instead just live in God’s grace day by day, never losing sight of the fact that his love for you is constantly being renewed.

Let us pray. Eternal God, you are the beginning and the end. Help us to seek you now that we may experience your hope and your grace today, rather than in some distant future. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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