WelCom December 2023
First Sunday of Advent – Mark 13:33-37
33 Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.
34 It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work to do, and he has told the gatekeeper to stay awake.
35 So stay awake, because you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, evening, midnight, at cockcrow, or in the morning.
36 If he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep.
37 And what I am saying to you I say to all: “Stay awake!”’
The Saviour who came two thousand years ago
What was the world like before Jesus was born about two thousand years ago? People were longing for a Messiah of some sort to save them from their physical hardships and despair, made worse by the controlling authorities of the day unsympathetic to the Jews. People were hoping for a king in the traditional sense who could take physical control of their world and make it a better place. People were longing for this on a daily basis.
Today the war being waged in Ukraine was instigated by President Putin and his Russian armies who thought it would result in a quick win. While in Israel on 7 October, Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, attacked Israel killing several hundred of their people and bringing war again to a much-troubled Holy Land.
Although Christ was born two thousand years ago, the world is still a mess and the saviour ‘who was supposed to fix it all’, still hasn’t arrived. Christ’s message is that the real ‘saving’ can only happen to each person from within – when people begin to seek forgiveness and accept Christ as their personal saviour and start living to a different set of rules. These rules are about forgiveness, love, peace and hope, and only these rules can fix the human mess. A different type of Saviour gives us the freedom to live by these rules daily.
With this new perspective, let’s re-think the human mess.
As a human race, we are so much better educated now than two thousand years ago. Yet with all our knowledge and ability to produce food, we lack the ability to distribute it. There are millions today who lack the money, the ability and the wherewithal to feed themselves. This fault lies with us; we know of the millions who go hungry daily, but do we care? We understand how to care about hunger because we don’t starve ourselves. What are we doing to bring peace into this world?
Today in Mark’s first gospel of the year, Jesus warns us to ‘stay awake’, to be on our guard because we don’t know what time, day, month or year our Lord will demand our soul from us. The real point of it is to not let our Master and Saviour find us sleeping.
To do this we need to allow our Saviour to live through us, and truly love our neighbour, which in the terms of the world issues discussed above, and re-thinking the human mess, means loving everyone on this planet. ‘Staying awake’ means actively doing this.