Saturday, July 16, 2011

the anticipation of things not seen

When our nephew was four years old, his parents announced the family was going to Disneyland during spring break. One night, in the middle of the night, about three o’clock in the morning, his mother awoke to the sound of little feet in footie pajamas padding lightly down the hall to the kitchen.

What are you doing?

I want to see the b’wochure about Dizzlieland!

He was so excited he could not wait until morning.

That is what hope does for us. It is the anticipation of things not seen, not know. For hope in what is seen is not hope – we hope for what we do not see.

And with faith growing in us we wait for it with patience.

With patience: because we trust in the Lord, we are able to wait – though we get all excited about it.

We wait for what is emerging – for that which is coming into being – which we do not yet see.

That is what “emergent” means – something that is becoming real, coming into our lives, that cannot be altogether explained by what we already know

We have to wait for it – and see. That is where trust comes in – and conquers fear.

Trust in God; do not be afraid. That is the message of the angel so many times when God’s messenger announces that something new is coming into being in the world.

And we can respond not only with trust, with hope, but without fear.

Remember the angel that appeared to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, before John was born. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son and he will bring to Israel the good news of the coming of the Messiah.

And remember Mary – hail to thee, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, the Angel proclaimed. Something new is coming, some One new is coming into being – and you are called to be the bearer, the God-bearer indeed, mother of the Anointed, God’s only begotten Son: Jesus.

Be with me as you say, Mary replies, in obedience and faithful response. And so a new order of the ages begins, with the Word, the Son of God, come into the world.

May it be with me as you say…

Paul in the Epistle to the Romans that we hear this morning continues the proclamation.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are his children. We did not receive a spirit of slavery – we are not automatons bound to obey a remorseless will. We have been adopted as sons and daughters, freely embraced and freely embracing God as loving parent. We are children, heirs; joint heirs with Christ.

And the whole of creation leans into this promise, groans with birth pangs, as it were, to bring forth the glory of God in this world.

Birth pangs: for the glory does not come without suffering. Jesus himself suffered as he waited in the garden anticipating death – but he trusted, and obeyed, and received the gift he now shares with us: the resurrection hope, the freedom from bondage to decay – the completion of life that is beyond death – because we know in the hope of the resurrection that Christ is alive – eternally present to the Father and we will be caught up in that glory as well.

Death does not get the final word. And even now coming into being in this world God’s kingdom comes – with our own hands, our feet, our hearts, our voices.

Working in us is the hope of glory – know that what is emerging in this world is not an emergency to panic us or make us fearful. We may not know what it will look like, what the future will hold for us – but we know that, as God reassures us through the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your good and not for evil, that you may have a future with hope.”

That you, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, will show in your lives the hope that you have.

That all may be well, that trusting in God, who is faithful and steadfast to love us, we shall see faith fulfilled in love, and hope completed in glory, and we in our lives will show that we are free to worship him without fear, witnessing with our words and our deeds to the glory of the presence of the Lord.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may hold your name in awe and wonder. I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart and glorify your name forever more.



Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17

Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43


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