Friends, I invite you to share your comments on these Afterthoughts at the bottom of this web page. I would love hear what you think! brad+
Mise en place.
A good cook knows what this is and what this means.
Everything in its place.
So much of good cooking is about the preparation.
Good sauces take time.
Properly cut ingredients take time.
Meat that is to be cooked takes time to be ready.
Preparation makes sure things run smoothly.
Preparation makes it so things can go quickly.
Preparation makes it so that food for a meal is completed at the same time.
Mise en place is true to the spiritual life too.
We are called to have everything in its place.
This does not mean that we are to be perfect.
Our goal is not perfection as most have come to understand it,
but as it is understood in the Scriptures.
Mature, Complete, whole.
Like the Hebrew word Shalom.
The season of Advent calls us to prepare ourselves for wholeness.
One of the ways we prepare to do this is through hearing and listening.
It’s what I shared this past Sunday.
So much of life is about hearing and listening.
So much about good relationships is about hearing and listening.
So much about our faith is about hearing and listening.
If you remember from Sunday,
I said there is a difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing is the physical act of receiving sounds through our ears.
Listening is allowing ourselves to take in the sound
in order to understand its meaning.
If my dogs are whining at the back door I will hear a very specific sound.
If I am listening to them whine,
I will understand that they are needing to go and do their business outside.
If I hear and do not listen, I will have a mess to clean up.
If I hear and listen, they will do what they have been trained to do.
The reading from 2 Peter this week is a clarion call to us about hearing.
It is both an attestation about God’s timing
and about the temporal nature of the world order.
“Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.”
“…with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.”
God’s timing is unlike our timing.
God’s timing is perfect.
It happens at the right opportunity.
There are two words for time used in the New Testament.
Chronos and Kairos.
Chronos is where we get the word chronological.
It is a specific and ordered time.
Kairos is a moment or season or an opportunity.
It is the word used in Romans 5:6,
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.”
Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection took advantage of the opportunity of that moment in history.
God’s timing is perfect.
The Temporal Nature of the World Order
“…and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.”
The heavens will pass away.
The elements will dissolve.
The earth and its contents will be opened.
What we know about the world is largely determined by what we experience.
What we experience is largely controlled by the powers of this world.
It is not a conspiracy to think that the powers that be manipulate us.
The news is largely shaped by the goals of those who control the news.
The governments of the world tell us what they want us to hear.
Both of these entities want to define the world we live in.
The reality is this: their time is limited.
It will pass.
And it will be revealed for what it is.
That is what Peter is talking about in the New Testament reading from Sunday.
The Mighty Roman Empire could never fail.
But what happened?
It did fail.
And it took its place with other regimes throughout history.
And this is good for us to keep in mind.
And to keep as a reference going forward in faith.
And it should shape what we wish to become.
Peter says it this way,
“Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness…”
“…while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.”
Holiness. Set apart.
Godliness. A life of loving others.
Peaceful. Contentment in the midst of chaos.
Unblemished. Unbruised by the world.
How might the pursuit of such things change us?
What could they do to the community at Holy Trinity?
And what might they do to those God is calling us to?
I mentioned on Sunday that we are called to be ambassadors.
And I shared that an ambassador is a messenger.
But more than a messenger.
A messenger sent with authority.
The kind of authority Jesus gave to the Disciples before he left.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28:18-20
Brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are a sent people.
A sent people with the authority of the Author of life.
A sent people that know that this world and its systems are passing away.
That know that the world and its systems are pale comparisons to the goodness of the God of the universe.
We are called to live out the goodness of God in the midst of this world.
To be holy, godly, peaceful and unblemished.
May we do so together and in the power of the Spirit of God.