Signpost for Sunday 2 December 2018 (first Sunday of Advent): Jer 33:14-16; Ps 25:1-10; 1 Thess 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36.
It’s Advent. The coming, the beginning, and yet from this week’s gospel reading you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the beginning of the end. That’s what the author of Luke seems to be showing his readers and listeners in this apocalyptic piece.
The end times as some people call them, when we will “see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Only that’s not Luke, that’s Daniel 7:13.
In Daniel the son of man is literally the “human one”, and he will have the power of a king.
And Luke seems to agree with that idea in verse 31: “…when you see these things coming to pass, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”
Then everything gets a bit wonky for me. We know now that Luke can’t be taken literally when he writes “this generation” will not pass away “until all might be fulfilled.”
I begin to wonder how come the author of Luke has slipped into this apocalyptic genre when not long before he has Jesus say, the kingdom of God is “among you” or “within you” (Luke 17:20). In which case Luke has already told us that the prophesy has actually already been fulfilled.
Looking at it that way, I find myself agreeing with John Petty who thinks this a may be a life lesson, rather than being a life warning. He suggests that the apocalypse is not some future event, but it’s right now for each of us in different ways
None of us knows what will happen tomorrow. Misfortunes occur for someone every day. And the day will inevitably come when that someone is me.
Perhaps this is, after all, a good way to begin Advent – the coming of one who shows us how to live life on Earth.
P.S. Advent is the beginning of a new church year and traditionally the end of the Signpost year. Signposts will be back in February 2019, if you want them.
Until then, may you be blessed with the spirit of the season, which is peace, the gladness of the season, which is hope, and the heart of the season, which is love.