Signs point to the coming of the Son of Man and the kingdom of God: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth.” Beginning with verse 29, a parable describes the fig tree, like all trees, offering signs that summer is near when it sprouts leaves. “So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”
Interpreting signs can be difficult and confusing. We find it more difficult to notice signs of God’s kingdom if we are not formed to see God’s actions in the world. For example, as a middle-class, educated US woman, the lens through which I view the world is mainly informed by modern influences of humanity’s perceived control mediated through medicine, technology, and economics—those proven and seen disciplines. Yet, humanity’s control is woefully overestimated. Whether natural disasters, deadly diseases, or simply misappropriating wants for needs, human control of the world is, for the most part, impossible. The only constant is the triune God’s promises of steadfast love, forgiveness, and relationship.
What would it mean to see the world through our belief and faith in God? Instead of “seeing is believing” what if “believing is seeing”? What if we choose to view the world through God’s promises contained in scripture and shared in communities of faith as we participate in God’s kingdom? Would we then be alert to the signs of God’s coming?
Reflect upon how believing in God’s promises reshapes our perceptions of life and the world. In prayer, ask God to give you new lenses to see God’s presence and actions.
As we prepare our hearts for Advent, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, we remember in Jeremiah that the birth of Jesus has a deep background, a background rooted in God’s promise to David. Psalm 25, traditionally credited to David, speaks of God’s faithfulness to those who follow the paths of the Lord. David asks God to teach him to follow God’s paths even more closely. The New Testament readings actually point us toward Jesus’ second coming. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to excel in holiness and love while they wait. In Luke, Jesus discusses the coming of the kingdom in a passage that some find confusing. We note that he focuses not on the exact time frame of the arrival of the kingdom but on our need to be alert.
• Read Jeremiah 33:14-16. What has been your experience with a promise-making and promise-keeping God?
• Read Psalm 25:1-10. How do you perceive God’s instruction in your life?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. How has God’s presence buoyed you up in times of persecution or distress?
• Read Luke 21:25-36. What is your Advent posture this year? If “believing is seeing” were true in your life, what would you see?
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