An Advent reflection for Sunday, December 10th by Rev. Oreon K. Trickey
Lectionary reading for 12/10/2023:Isaiah 40:1-11,2 Peter 3:8-15, Mark 1:1-8
Selected passage for reflection: 2 Peter 3:8-15
2 Peter 3:8-15 NRSVUE
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him…
Throughout this short passage of scripture that is packed with all sorts of theological and apocalyptic thoughts, two things stand out as foundational to our faith.. One, God’s timing is not our timing, and Two, waiting and patience are part of God’s relationship with us and our relationship with God.
God’s Timing: So often I feel like Jesus says, “Slow down and let me do my slow and steady work in you.” As an Enneagram 7, I want to jump in, jump ahead, and jump all around instead of walking slowly and mindfully down the path that God has presented before me. It’s a challenge to trust that God’s timing is trustworthy and working toward my long-term health and spiritual well-being.
Waiting and Patience: See above…seriously, waiting is not how we typically envision a vibrant life in Christ. We (at least I) want action, to DO something, to make an impact, make a difference in the world. And yet, we see that part of our call to live and serve is to wait before the Lord, where we have the opportunity to grow in holiness, godliness, and peace.
While we are waiting on God, God is also patiently waiting for us to turn around, change direction (the definition of repentance), and look to Jesus as the One who is leading us home to ourselves and home to eternity with Him. Waiting gives us new opportunities to embrace Christ’s redemption, to take baby steps toward the Kingdom of God. And to allow God to heal, grow, and train us to be instruments of His redemption to the world around us.
What often feels to us like delayed and sluggish action on God’s part to do the work of Christ in us is really mercy of the deepest order. May we receive this gift with open arms and open hearts.
Let’s do a little Lectio Divina:
I invite you to slowly read through this poem two times. Reading it aloud is optimum but not essential.
The first time be attentive to what words or phrases land in your heart and soul.
Sit in silence for a few moments.
Then read it again and listen for an invitation that God might be extending to you at this time and in this place.
Conclude by speaking to God about what is stirring in you.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ excerpted from Hearts on Fire
Sing, hum, or whistle this familiar seasonal song and let its words wash over you:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let Earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
About the Author
A long-time resident of Chicago, Oreon is a seasoned urban ministry practitioner, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and Enneagram consultant. She currently lives and serves with the Jesus People community in the city's Uptown neighborhood. Oreon plays a mean blues guitar, loves to laugh deeply, and appreciates a serious cup of coffee. @oreont