Wake-up call

The first Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

No one expects the Kingdom of God!*

The Messiah who is coming, and the reign of God he ushers in, isn't more of the same. Today's lessons make that clear. This kingdom is as different from the world we know as consciousness is from sleep, as peace from war. It is as unexpected as a flash flood, as a burglary-of-opportunity. Are you awake to it?

Isaiah's prophecy emphasizes the contrast. Who notices the hills? In our busyness, do we even take time to notice what is around us, above us? But when the mountain of the Lord is raised up above the taken-for-granted scenery that barely registers in our peripheral vision – then the peoples pay attention. So awesome is this vision that it is seen immediately as a source of justice and truth. Can you imagine the nations of the world today recognizing any authority as so just and fair that they can not only sign an arms control treaty but forget how and why to wage war? This kingdom is not an adjustment of the existing power structure, but a radically new order.

But if we don't wake up, if we don't pay attention to what is going on in and around us, we might just miss it completely, as Jesus and Paul remind us. For this kingdom that broke into the world in a stable in Bethlehem hasn't reached its fulfillment, but it continues to break in as we – God's people – wake up to the transforming potential of God's love. Can you – can I – be alive to the possibilities?

*Apologies to Monty Python.

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