Summer Advent
written by Rev Gary Heard

The start of Advent in Melbourne usually coincides with the first traces of summer weather, as temperatures move towards the thirties bringing much increased humidity with it. There are those who welcome these signs of advancing summer: students completing exams, summer holidays approaching, longer days and shorter nights which suits those who love outdoor leisure activities. Melburnians can often be seen heading down to the beach after work, or heading to the nearest park to take advantage of the barbecue facilities.

But there are those who dread these first signs of impending summer. The hotter days present much more of a threat than an offering of pleasure, limiting their ability to undertake much in the way of outdoor recreation, as the sun quickly saps energy. Those who suffer the effects of skin cancer also find themselves under much greater threat.

It is this sense of anticipation that is shared in common with the Advent season, and at the same time undergirds the varied reactions.

As we turn our focus afresh to the anticipation of Christ’s coming into the world, we are called to reflect on the implications of this much-anticipated event. There are those who long for this moment, to be drawn into the presence of God and the culmination of His purposes; to see Jesus face to face. For those who have lived and worked faithfully for their Lord and who have sought to incarnate his kingdom on earth, it will be a welcome moment – when justice finally reigns, when the poor are lifted up, and when all creation is renewed. What a great experience that will be!

At the same time there are those who have much to lose as a result. All notions of power as we have experienced them on earth will be replaced by the just reign of God. It will no longer be the whim of the wealthy or politically influential which determines the way resources are distributed, or who is important.

But we need to also remember that it was the religious people who have the track record of rejecting those whom God has sent: prophets first. When Jesus appeared it was the religious, and the powerful who had the most trouble accepting his priorities. We are warned by their stories of the need to be constantly examining and realigning our priorities in line with the teaching of Jesus, so that when he returns, we will be found faithful.
As we enter the Advent season, with the weather warming up, let us pray that we will not only anticipate the coming of Jesus into each day, but act in ways which demonstrate that expectation.

November 27, 2005
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