The Days are Surely Coming from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God
25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see the ‘Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30as soon as they sprout leave you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34”Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.
The days are surely coming.
The days are surely coming when we will find a baby lying in a manger.
The days are surely coming when we will find a baby lying in a manger, who is Christ, the LORD.
But the first Sunday of Advent is not that day. Today, we get a royal proclamation from the king that infant will become. Today is that day when we encounter “…the stern, adult Jesus, picturing the whole universe being shaken and turned upside down.” It's a reminder that Christ's humble beginnings do not make him easier to control. His lowly birth sets everything we expect from royalty on its head.
"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
These are the frightening images of an apocalypse, not the pastoral settings of the Nativity. They point to a day when the Kingdom of God lands fully in this world. That day is surely coming. We all recognize that Jesus ascended into heaven, but he’s not been up there taking a nap. He sits at the right hand of God and reigns over all creation. Christ intervenes in creation, he is not absent from it.
But the days are surely coming when the Holy One of Israel will reveal himself to the fullness of creation, and all the people therein. “Then they will see the ‘Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.” Christ is coming again with the power to fashion creation anew, to bring hope to those who have none, to bring joy to those who live in despair. Christ is coming again with the power to release the captives, to restore sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.
He is also coming with the power to judge all of the people of God. And that part is kind of scary.
It scares me anyway. I’m not hopeless, I don’t live in despair. Nobody is holding me captive, except maybe my own selfishness. I’m pretty nearsighted, but I’m by no means blind. As a straight, white, man, it’d be pretty tough for me to cite a time when I’ve been oppressed.
But I know that I’m a sinner, and I know that there’s a judgment associated with that. It’s not a judgment I would pass on my own. The days are surely coming…
Jesus speaks again to his followers. “Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” We do not stand at that moment of judgment alone. That same Son of Man who comes in a cloud with power and glory stands with us, and wraps us up in his steadfast love. “The days are surely coming, says the LORD… And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’” It is not we who stand, but Christ who stands for us.
The days are surely coming when our righteousness will no longer be self-righteousness, but the righteousness of our loving LORD. And in those days which are surely coming, everything will be different. "There will be an end to life as it now is, an end that comes as both judgment and redemption.” The judgment of Christ is filled with hope, because it restores us to who God created us to be. The judgment of Christ frees us from sin’s oppression, and joins us to the covenant of hope, sealed in his blood.
The days are surely coming when our waiting will cease and we will know God fully, even as we are fully known. But today is the first Sunday of Advent, when we wait, and look forward to Christ’s coming. Our vision is lit only be the candle of hope, and we can only see as far as it reaches.
But the candle of hope extends its light to the Lord’s table. For just as the fig leaves signals the beginning of summer, the LORD’s table shows us that our hope is nourished by Christ’s real presence in our midst, even if we don’t always perceive it ourselves.
The days are surely coming when we will will gather around Christ's table and see him sitting at the head. The days are surely coming.
But for today, we are invited to gather at this table and wait for the LORD. We will eat of this bread and drink of this cup to proclaim his saving death, until he comes.
This meal is remembrance, but we remember the future, the days which are surely coming. This meal feeds our bodies and Christ’s presence feeds our whole selves, and keeps us from becoming “weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.” We eat and drink in remembrance of the hoped-for future, knowing that the promise of God is sure.
The days are surely coming when we will be given the strength to stand before the Son of Man, knowing that “The LORD is our righteousness.” When we gather at this table, we proclaim that the Son of Man will come again, with power and great glory, to judge and redeem us all. We may not be there yet…
But the days are surely coming.