Third Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 7


Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.


Regardless of how you voted it's hard to regard the recent election hopefully. The leadership of the nation, the land of the free and the home of the brave, placed before its voters a poor choice. We could choose a liberal pro-abortion candidate or a faux-conservative political novice. When many expected the Republican Party to be forced into retreat and reorganization, the Democrats were stunned by massive losses.  

If any Baby Boomers expected to see the Kingdom of God within their lifetime, they've met a serious setback. Perhaps NASA-ites who believe with religious faith we should start over on Mars found encouragement in the debacle but the rest of us are distressed. 

This Baby-Boomer is especially distressed to see men of my own generation dying at an alarming rate. Vietnam Veterans are dying young of suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking, loneliness and divorce. Where have all the flowers gone? 

Advent urges us to "Be patient, brothers and sisters!" 

Patience  and hope are sadly neglected words in our narcissistic culture. Patience is often invoked in a desperate, losing struggle against anger. Hope is something we bring out when we plan a picnic despite the forecast of rain. These are uninspired usages of the Christian's sacred language. 

The abiding Holy Spirit, who sees from afar what no one can see in the near future, breathes patience and hope into our planning and effort. 

I am reminded of the Laurel and Hardy movie about lumberjacks. When Ollie took a single swing at a tall tree, Stan pushed on it to see if it would fall yet.  Some people think that living and working for the Kingdom of God should produce tangible, immediate results. 

Hearing the guns of war, Parson Thirdly lamented, "Instead of preaching forty year I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer." 

Humility in the service of the Lord teaches us to Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. There is no reason this generation should see any more progress than the past fifty generations. No one even knows what progress might look like. 

We don't keep trying; that is a fool's errand. Rather, we let the Spirit move in us, arousing us from sleep each morning, inspiring us to courageous generosity each day, forgiving our frequent sins, and dispatching us to bed each night, grateful for another day's work in the vineyard. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.