New Writing, Pondering

Waiting for Jesus

When I was a child there was a lot more talk about the second coming of Jesus. I was too young to get caught up in the theological debates about when and how Jesus was coming back, only that he was coming. And while, even as an adult, I have never found much interest in figuring out the hows, I ache with longing for Christ’s arrival, that day when the new heavens and new earth, free of everything destructive, and full of justice and freedom, is fully revealed.

What do I wait for?

Well, for one thing, I imagine the fullness and joy of that day will surpass all the freedom and wholeness I will ever know in this life. I am far more whole than I once was, but I know there is a limit on the freedom of who I am. We’re told when we see Jesus, we will become like him, for we will see him as he is. I long for that likeness. I long to see life through Jesus’ eyes.

I am waiting for relationships to be healed, really healed, not just mended, not just held together with mutual silence for glue. I wait for real understanding, and deep peace with all those I love. Somehow, I think in Jesus’ presence we will all tell the very most truthful version of our stories, and light will shine in our darkest places and we will finally be well with God, ourselves and each other.

I am waiting for violence to end and those victimized by abusive words and actions to find the healing they deserve and need. I am waiting for Jesus’ whole church to be a place of safety, not a place where abusers can hide. I am waiting for defensive church power brokers to grant wise hearts and minds a real place at the table, for self-protection to give way to transparency, for all of our “sides” to be heard and sorted and set free by the ultimate justice and mercy of Jesus.

I am waiting the day when the earth and its inhabitants live in interdependence. I long to see the earth as it is intended to be and I am waiting the restoration of all the species our carelessness has killed, to see all people and critters united in the whole we were meant to be.

I am waiting for beauty to redeem the ugliness in the world, for meaning to be woven out of life’s no longer limited materials. I am waiting for order in all the chaos, relationship out of all the brokeness, and rest where frenetic activity now reigns. As my sister’s confirmation class understands, I am waiting for Shalom.

Part of Christian faith is believing that this is not all there is, that a better day is coming, that we were all created for something more, and that all the good we long for is bound up in the second Adam, the first-born from the dead, Jesus Christ.

Waiting is never the opposite of positive action, but even our best engagement, necessary as it is, will never be sufficient. We will never be fully free, fully in harmony, fully whole until the day when Jesus Christ makes all things new. So even in our most effective responses to the hardest challenges, even as we catch a whiff or taste of Christ’s kingdom. we wait.

It’s a good week to be waiting. We’re coming to the 1st Sunday in Advent, and the 2nd Coming comes first.

Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

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