Thursday in the first week of Advent, Year B
03 December 2020
In these days…
Reading: Mark 13:24-37
Scripture: “But in those days, after the suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven… Then they will see…” (Mark 13: 24 – 26)
Reflection: In those days, after the suffering, there will be darkness. Some see the apocalyptic language in this passage as referring to the end but we see it as an ending – a necessary ending that makes room for a new beginning even as it reveals a darkness from which new light will shine. But this is not just about the darkness in ‘those days’; it is also about the darkness in ‘these days’: the darkness in our lives, the darkness of our dreary existence and the untold distress manifested in death, economic fallout, hopelessness, and fear of the unknown, as we struggle to cope in the midst of the COVID pandemic and other “plague -like” occurrences which have overtaken the world. How do we cope? The good thing is that these dark, scary and often painful times invite us to self-reflection and, in our contemplation, we come to realize that this passage is, in essence, a call to heighten our awareness of God’s presence in and promise to the world. It is about possibilities and hope in the future.
Where do we begin? This requires change and those of us who have experienced significant change in our lives, whether welcome or unwanted, dreaded or desired, know about ‘those days’ and what it is like to enter into the darkness of change. More often than not, change brings with it, loss. It may be the failure of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or the loss of what is familiar, comfortable and safe, Regardless, the world as we know it has ended. Things are falling apart instead of falling into place and we find ourselves in that space between what has been and what will be; the old that is no longer and the new that is not yet; life as it was and life as it might be. And, in the darkness, in this place of uncertainty, our constant refrain is, “How are we going to get through this?”
Our world is falling apart; darkness seems to be our only companion and God is nowhere to be seen. How will we find our way when the lights that usually illuminate our paths no longer shine? We believe that because we cannot see, there is nothing to see and because we don’t know the way forward, there is none. We want to fix things, to ease the pain, to escape the uncertainty and go back to what used to be before the lights went out.
Advent therefore challenges us to give up our usual sources of illumination, let go of our habitual ways of knowing and to question our typical ways of seeing and doing. Advent invites us to receive the God who comes to us in the darkness of our lives. and to realize that the season is not so much about the losses as it is about the hope and coming of what will be: that hope and coming – the Son of Man, Jesus the Christ.
Meditation: “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 6)
Prayer: Lord, when the very foundation of our being is shaken, we hold steadfast to the hope that You are with us and when that time comes, as long as we are faithful, we will join You in Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.
St. Jude’s Church
Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020
by The St. Jude’s Writers