One of the many themes that we often attribute to the season of Advent is that of waiting. In this year of 2020 we may feel like we have done our fair share of waiting. We have been waiting to gather again with family and friends, waiting to worship in person, wait for a vaccine and now vaccine distribution, waiting for things to return to “normal,” if there is a normal to return to. This Advent our cluster here in the Treasure Valley is doing prerecorded mid-week evening prayer together, and last week I gave a brief reflection, the theme of the week being “Wait” and the scripture being 2nd Peter 3:8-15a. One of the commentaries I read on this passage talked about the early Christians who were hearing the letter from 2 Peter. They struggled with patience and waiting. The early Christians were waiting for Jesus to return like he had said and they thought it should be happening in their lifetime. Jesus had said “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place,” so where was he? They had waited and waited for Jesus and he still hadn’t returned. In their waiting they were growing weary and beginning to doubt Jesus was really coming back. Some even went as far as saying that Jesus coming again was a fable and a myth. That Jesus wasn’t really coming back.
The author of 2nd Peter was writing to remind the people that God’s time is not like ours. Reminding them, that for God one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. God had not forgotten them, God keeps God’s promises, and in God’s time Jesus would return. The author also reminds them that in their waiting they shouldn’t let their faith become stagnant. That they should practice what I am calling active waiting. To keep living their faith out in their daily lives. Living lives of faithfulness and hope, of kindness and compassion, of expectation and watchfulness. To continue to live out the love Jesus taught, as they awaited his return. That even when things were hard they could continue to live out love as they waited.
Still today we live in this in-between time of the now and not yet, and that is not always easy. In a year that has brought so much chaos, violence, and death, we can wonder where God is, and what God is up to in and through this? In all of our waiting it can be hard to see where God is present and active in our lives. We can feel weighed down and weary from all the brokenness we see in the world around us. As we wait we can still live lives of faithfulness and hope, by living out Gods love to those around us. We can cling to the promise that God’s time is not like ours. That God has not forgotten us. That God keeps God’s promises. That God is present with us in and through the ups and downs of living in the in-between of the now and not yet.
As we continue our journey through this Advent season, as we await the celebration of Jesus’ birth, as we also wait for Jesus to return, may we embody active waiting. Anticipating with hope, but also continuing to live out our faith through loving our neighbor. Living lives of faithfulness and hope, lives of kindness and compassion, lives of expectation and watchfulness as we wait.