We start a New Year in the church today and the season of Advent brings us a different gospel to read from. Not only this but in Advent we begin to read about all the predictions of the second coming of Christ. What is the coming again though and how do we even read the signs. Sometimes it seems there as clearly spoken of as something well hidden. At other times it seems as though there right before us.
These days seem to bring about that echo of the last days being right upon us. There are more wars, more fighting, more ways in which people are hurting each other and we could say it looks like it's all coming to an end, and then we sit back and wait. But is this really what Jesus tells us? Last week on John we heard more specifics about wars and rumors of war, this week it only says heaven will be shaken, learn to recognize the signs.
The key is on what Jesus says later in the passage, don't worry, live life. Live, it is one of the things the prophet Jeremiah asks of Israel, to choose life? What does that mean? Choose life, how do we live fully and not sit back and be in fear, how do we worry more for the whole world instead of just ourselves, how are we moved to action instead of frozen in our own fear?
"Be not afraid" it is a most often repeated story in the gospels especially at this time of year. The angel says it to Joseph about taking Mary as his wife, the Angel says it to Zechariah as he is about to receive the news that his wife is pregnant, the angel says it to Mary when he delivers the news she is to bear a son. Don't be afraid, choose to live. This subversive message in the face of fear, in the face of uncertainty, and in the face of death. Because it is a chance in every one of these stories.
Jesus says to is today don't worry so that you're not caught unexpectantly. Choose to live. Don't be weighed down by fear and sorrow. Live life, be watchful, do the things you should be doing. Yesterday we watched C. S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." In it the children, four of them, go through the wardrobe and into the land of Narnia. In their world it is a time of war, World War II and they are sent out of the city to live in the country far away from the bombings and harm. When they reach Narnia and find there is war and they are prophesied to be the ones who bring peace they insist on going home. Safety, their mum didn't send them here to be killed. It's not until Edmund goes to the White Witch and is in trouble that they decide they have to live out their destiny there. Even at the end they are debating safety and living.
Circumstances forced them to choose life. We have a choice everyday. Do we choose to live or do we become encased in fear and be bound to that. Choose life,
It may be harder, but it was worth the birth of fragile hope in the end.