ADVENT AND PEACE: A RESPONSE TO A BIBLICAL LITERALIST

Don't Make Me Think About Easter Until After Christmas!

Isaiah 11:1-10
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Being challenged by a biblical literalist
by the question, “Should we celebrate Easter,”
during the Season of Advent—YIKES!!!
I refuse to celebrate Easter until after Christmas.
This is Advent, for crying out loud.
The question we should be dealing with
is not about Easter (yet),
but just what in God’s name are we doing
to prepare ourselves
for the coming of Jesus into our lives?
AND instead of getting stuck on prophecy
or a particular scripture,
why not encounter, head on,
the change in our souls and lives
we are expected to make
if we are to claim this promised salvation.
I will not be tricked into thinking like a
Scribe or a Pharisee or a Sadducee.
We are supposed to be new creations in Jesus,
We are supposed to seek Peace.
We are expected to make Peace
not parse the law of scripture.
God may want God’s word writ large on our hearts,
But that word is PEACE!
I propose we step out of the death
of law and legalism,
and into life that we are promised
by the coming of this Babe
into our world.

The truth of it is that most of us would rather waste our time on the inessentials of some esoteric question, than engage conversion.  Conversion equals change.  Conversion equals becoming a different person.  Conversion means that we become part of a process of becoming.  AND HUMANS REALLY HATE TO CHANGE!

It seems that we are addicted to how we/things/others are, and we will do almost anything to try and keep them that way.  It is a deadly addiction.

If you are a Christian, I mean truly a Christian, then you have no business trying to discover proofs and signs and reasons for your faith in the Living Christ.  Well, you don’t.  And you don’t need to because all the proof you need dwells within you.

Well, this is Advent, and there are some questions that arise for me as I consider Christmas and the coming of Jesus into the world.

First, if Jesus, as he is represented is scripture, is my salvation, from what do I require saving?  Is it a fiery hell and eternal damnation?  I do not think so.  I do not think so because there is nothing in the scriptures I have read that compels me to believe that there is one of those.  I read scripture and I become more and more convinced in an unconditionally loving God who gets words put into his/her metaphorically divine mouth by mean, vengeful, curmudgeons who got the privilege of writing their own stories and opinions into something we consider God’s sacred word.  So, if it is not from hell I need to be saved what might this Bringer-of-Salvation actually have to offer me?  Keep in mind that the Liberation Theology of the 1980’s stated that if we perceive we have nothing from which to be saved, then there is no salvation for us.  I think, for myself at least, I need to be saved from my bad decisions, from my lack of hope and my overriding cynicism.  Just for starters!  From what might it be that you need to be saved?  This question is at the heart of Advent.

Second, and this is something we mostly try to ignore, which is our need to be saved from our own lack of faith.  For the most part, we liberals have sold our souls to the mechanics of Modernism and the Scientific Method, and for the most part we are just plain wring in doing so.  We have attempted to be ourselves the designers of the God of all Creation, and in doing so have come up with a small, weak god that is just as powerless as those doing the creating.  We, who would never to think of allowing coincidences in our logical and scientific calculations, attribute them to the workings of God.  We have turned our backs on the concept of Mystery, and have become the poorer for doing so.  Advent for us becomes a time to step into this great mystery that is Jesus and allow it to ignite our faith.  This step is at the heart of Advent.

Third, we always need to be saved from our bad decisions, and hard hearts.  Bad decisions and hard hearts seem to be the natural condition of the human.  You may not agree, and of course not, but every saint of the Christian tradition would agree.  If you have ever held a newborn child, and not allowed its vulnerability to touch you; if you have ever found yourself afraid to reach out to someone who needed your blessing; if you have not been able to trust in the process of love; if you have ever said that you hated someone/something/someway/somehow; if you have ever, at the core of your being, screamed in horror at the cold, blank wall of the Unknown of the Universe, then you may be in need of the saving grace of what this baby Jesus represents!  If you have ever dreamed for peace in your life, in your family, in your community, in your world, and found no way to achieve it, then what this Season of Advent offers is for you.

I approach scripture, not for its word-for-word meaning, but for its overall, inherent, metaphorical truth.  The truth I find is of a God of love who does not manipulate us into submission through fear, but lures us into healing and hope, and yes salvation, through unconditional love.  And the preparation of our hearts for the coming of this love is what Advent is about!

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