Advent Hope for Frontier Living
Good morning to you!
We look forward to walking through Advent with you in these emails and in our contemplative times* together!
Our guide this year will be Fleming Rutledge’s sermons and writings in Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ. Rutledge reminds her readers that, while we often imagine the season as a sweet reminder of Christ’s humble incarnation, Advent is also the church’s gift that helps us anticipate Christ’s glorious and mighty second coming. We await the eschaton.
In Rutledge’s words:
“When the prophet Isaiah cries out, “O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down!’ (Isaiah 64:1), it is with just such a sense of desperate knowledge that nothing short of divine intervention can arrest the ever recurring cycle of human misery.
This understanding of the placement of the church in between the first and second comings can be further understood as a life lived on the frontier of the turn of the ages. This is a key to the season of Advent--the concept of two ages, which collide in the cross of Christ.” - p. 13
Has it ever occurred to us that we live on the frontier between two ages? We inhabit a thin space where worlds are colliding?
Frontier living is gritty, adventurous, and unpredictable. It requires courage and community. How many episodes of Little House on the Prairie did we watch with our 10-year-old breaths held as the intensity of frontier life threatened to overwhelm Pa or Ma?
To remember that we are frontier people is to remember that we need the season of Advent. Humans need visible, tangible reminders that there is a once and future King whose relentless faithfulness to show up and make right is neither constrained by our sin nor contained by our timeline. The mortal dangers of the frontier are not too much for our King.
We need the reminders. The candles. The darkness. The songs. The prayers. The stories. The scriptures. The pregnant waiting.
Advent gives us hope for frontier living by connecting us to what is most true. That God did come. That God will come. And that our hopeful waiting bears witness to the eventual victory of life over death, light over darkness, order over confusion, and peace over chaos.
Advent is the way our faith--our religion--makes visible the invisible by giving us tangible ways to remember what is real, even in the frontier spaces. In the words of Scott Erickson, “Spirituality is making what’s invisible, visible; religion is the rituals, rhythms, and practices we form to connect to that visibility.”
How can you tangibly connect to invisible Advent hope today? Consider taking a walk and observing signs of life in the cold landscape. Or, consider sitting in a dark room this evening and lighting a candle. As you do these things, we pray this prayer for you: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
The Kaleid Team
*Thanks to those of you who are joining us for our contemplative series--and it’s not too late to join us for our first meeting tonight! For a sample of the type of practice we will share, listen to Saranell’s introduction here.
P.S. We are excited to consider all that 2020 held at Kaleid and to imagine the possibilities in 2021. Look for more soon about where we’re going and how you can participate!
P.S. Here is a great podcast about Advent and the Second Coming from Dr. Emily McGowan of Wheaton. And, here’s a sermon on the Isaiah text mentioned in Dr. Rutledge’s quote from Pastor Ginny Siebel at Trinity Anglican in Atlanta.