Revd Dr Rae Caro

The Curate Writes

Monday 11th December 2017

Keep Awake!

Advent is meant to be a season of reflection and preparation but what are we meant to be focussing on? Advent is a time when we look forward to celebrating Jesus coming in to our world at Christmas. We also remember that Jesus told us to keep awake and watch for the time when he will return.

When we read about this in the Bible it can be slightly scary, it sounds like Jesus is talking about the end of the world. Jesus says he will return as the messiah when we see frightening, unnatural signs. He will come as human but also as God, he will use power to free people who have been oppressed and he will build an everlasting kingdom based on holiness and justice.

You might wonder why you need to be told to keep awake then! I think I might be woken up by stars falling, great disaster and Jesus arriving on a cloud. But, we find that this ‘end of the world’ language is actually used to represent situations we are much more familiar with; war, injustice and poverty.

We need to be awake and attentive to the kind of situations that need Jesus, who gathers and lifts up people who have been trodden down by power misused by others. Christmas is a time when we are very aware of Jesus breaking into our lives and coming to live amongst us. What we do during Advent is look for signs of Jesus coming even when the crib is empty. These desperate situations where it seems that God is absent cannot continue. God’s love for creation is too strong, Jesus power to change lives is too overwhelming, the Holy Spirit’s healing is too complete. We need to remember that when we see these signs of turmoil, all is not lost, Jesus will come.

We are called to work together for the coming of Jesus’ kingdom. We will all have different roles to play in that. Therefore, when we see these signs of inequality whether in our neighbourhood or nationally or even internationally it’s important that we discuss it together. There are many examples of this happening already. In our MINE group of churches, the Money Advice Centre and our MINE youth work are fantastic examples of this. People have seen the need for improvement in the quality of life of those facing financial hardship and in the lives of our young people. These observations have been shared inside churches, and between churches and have turned into actions and are having an impact. We have much to celebrate and give thanks for, whilst also acknowledging that we live in advent times, waiting for God’s kingdom in its fullness.

So this advent we must keep awake! We must look for situations where God can break through. We should work together for Jesus’ reign of justice and peace. And we are called to give thanks for signs that God is transforming our community already.

Wishing you a peaceful advent,

Rev’d Rae Caro