Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent
30 November 2014
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
“Look out down from heaven, look at us!”
“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
If we review the situation that the Jews were facing in Isaiah after the cruel exile experience, and the huge challenges that they had in front of them, we can easily understand their feeling overwhelmed. We, right now in the 21st century, are not living a life that is so different from the life they were living. Just like them, we have two options: just accept with resignation what is and live our lives accordingly by remembering the good old days; or we can seize this moment as a great opportunity to change our reality and our future from this uncertain and volatile present.
As a Christian community, we are entering in the season of Advent, or Small Lenten Season, as it used to be call by our ancestors in the faith. In our hands, we have the opportunity once again to be transforming ourselves as we transform the world!
It is apparent, I believe, that our world is in desperate need of transformation as we bear witness to the madness that our world is experiencing. War in some countries (Ukraine, etc.); devastation in other places (the global climate change that is compelling us); confrontations in many cities (Ferguson, etc.); the hellish reality in my home country (Mexico) with thousands of people missing and presumed dead, like the 43 students recently found; hate crimes; Ebola and a multitude of other kinds of diseases.
The reality of our complex world, of course, can overwhelm anyone, but I want us to consider the words of Gerhard Ebeling who wrote, “the most real of the real thing, is not the reality itself, but its possibilities.” And as the dreamer that I am, and with our Christian and human grounding, we must focus our efforts on the possibilities that are calling for our commitment to transformation. I stand fast in believing that not everything is lost.
God needs our hands, our feet, our hearts, and our minds to bring about a transformation in this world. It is not enough just to pray about it. Rev. Troy Perry, our Founder, is right when he says: “Some prayers need our feet.”
Now more than ever, we need to “be on guard!” with our eyes and hearts, paying attention to the future that we want to leave for the people who are coming after us. Thus, we must be mindful of the future we are leaving them, as it directly correlates to our decisions and our actions right now. We need to refuse the temptation to live in the routine of our safe lives. Advent calls us to risk it all.
The importance of this season, I believe, is not the observance of the season itself; the importance is the meaning and transformation that we can receive for our ministries, for our lives, for our churches, and for our communities.
What kind of Advent are you expecting, my siblings? How must we live the Advent Season among the many in our world who do not expect anything?
As Christians, we are not just preparing ourselves to celebrate the Christmas Season, as that can be a devastating goal for us this First Sunday of Advent; our commitment should be to expect and to help to establish the real Realm of God in the world, creating something completely different than the current reality.
Maybe we can refuse to celebrate the Advent, but we are not allowed to refuse to lend a helping hand to all people of this earth, to work hard to bring about the advent of a new world.
Let me conclude my reflection by adding my voice to my siblings in Mexico in their demand: VIVOS SE LOS LLEVARON, VIVOS LOS QUEREMOS (You took them alive from us, alive we want them back with us).